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Kiekert accelerates proceedings against Brose after Düsseldorf defeat

Post Time:2024-02-21 Source:juve-patent Author:Mathieu Klos Views:

Kiekert and Brose are locked in a dispute over BMW car-lock patents. Brose celebrated a late success at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, which overturned an previous injunction. But Kiekert reacted by immediately announcing new lawsuits.

Kiekert has failed in its last attempt to sue automotive supplier Brose for infringement of car-door lock patents. Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court has revised a judgment of the first instance, where the regional court ordered Brose to cease and desist from infringing German patentDE 10 2009 029 041 B4.

However, following an appeal by Brose, the court has dismissed Kiekert’s lawsuit (case ID: I-15 U101/19).

BMW cars use Brose

Brose car locks are installed in approximately 85% of BMW cars, meaning the case is of high economic significance. Accordingly, Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court set the amount in dispute at €20 million.

In addition to Brose Schließsysteme GmbH, the international automotive supplier Kiekert had also made claims against other subsidiaries and BMW in the appeal proceedings. The company later withdrew the claims against the Munich-based car manufacturer and others.

Brose had filed a nullity suit against patent DE 041 with the German Federal Patent Court. The court confirmed the patent with restrictions, but the German Federal Court of Justice then restored the patent in its original version. Nevertheless, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court judges concluded that the Brose car-door locks do not infringe the patent.

Strong finish from defendant

The first round of the dispute involved a further lawsuits filed by Kiekert, where things had initially seemed to go well for the patent holder.

Kiekert sued Brose for infringement ofEP 2 291 568 B1, which the Düsseldorf Regional Court initially upheld. However, when the Federal Court of Justice destroyed the patent during the appeal, Kiekert decided not to continue the action. Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court thus ended the proceedings with a waiver judgment (in German, ‘Verzichtsurteil’; case ID: I-15 U102/19).

In a third proceeding, Brose had greater success from the outset. Düsseldorf Regional Court dismissed Kiekert’s infringement action. In addition, while the Federal Patent Court and the Federal Court of Justice confirmed Kiekert’sEP 0 982 978 B1, this was only in a limited form.

In November 2023, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court also dismissed Kiekert’s appeal in the infringement case (case ID: I-15 U99/22).

Kiekert opens second round

While the proceedings concerning EP 978 and EP 568 have now concluded, Kiekert still has one last chance in the action concerning DE 041. At the request of JUVE Patent, Kiekert confirmed that it has filed an appeal against the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court’s judgment against the denial of leave to appeal to the Federal Court of Justice.

Kiekert’s press spokesperson, Simone Fuchs, says, “After two oral hearings in which the judges had given us positive signals that they would follow the Federal Court of Justice’s interpretation of the patent and – in the event of an unrestricted confirmation of the patent, as has now happened – uphold the infringement judgment of the Düsseldorf Regional Court, the judgment is a clear surprise for Kiekert.”

Fuch adds, “We also criticise unconsidered factual submissions and the lack of a fair hearing in the proceedings at the Higher Regional Court.”

Further lawsuits likely

Kiekert also told JUVE Patent that the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court’s ruling was not the end of the dispute with Brose, but rather the beginning of an extensive patent battle.

Fuchs says, “Kiekert will soon be filing another lawsuit based on the confirmed German patent DE 041 and several other patents against Brose’s 35up series lock”. In this context, Fuchs referred to the Federal Court of Justice’s confirmation of the Keikert patents in two proceedings (case IDs: X ZR 36/21 and X ZR 51/21).

Last year, Brose also sued Kiekert over a patent at the Düsseldorf Regional Court (case ID: 4b O 71/23). The court has not yet reached a decision.