/ Created by Dr. Ralph Minderop

Hahlbrock Permitted to Continue Using G+H Patent for Construction Components for Radio Equipment

Judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf from March 14, 2018

Düsseldorf, March 19, 2018 – Hahlbrock GmbH located in Wunstorf, a manufacturer of moulded parts made from fiber-reinforced plastics, has been permitted to continue using a particular method in radome construction that is patent-protected by G+H Kühllager- und Industriebau GmbH located in Mannheim. This was decided by the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf in its ruling on March 14, 2018. G+H Kühllager- und Industriebau GmbH, a member of the G+H Group, is part of Vinci S.A., one of the world's leading companies for construction and construction-related services.

In its judgment, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf granted Hahlbrock, despite the existing patent, a so-called right of prior use pursuant to Section 12 of the German Patent Act for a construction method used in particular in radome construction. This right applies if a company was already using the invention in good faith at the time the patent application was filed. Radomes are protective enclosures for radio communication equipment. The surface of Hahlbrock’s moulded parts is graded at the edges. This results in a space that can be filled without thickening  when two elements are connected. Thickening in the protective casing would impair the signal intensity of electromagnetic radiation. Hahlbrock had already provided and sold such components long before the patent was filed. The plaintiff intended to prohibit the Lower Saxon company from doing so by filing a patent infringement lawsuit.

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf has now overturned a judgment of the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in which the infringement claim was initially upheld, and granted Hahlbrock's counterclaim that such components may not only be offered and supplied to customers, but that such protective enclosures may also be erected. The Court has, however, granted leave to appeal to the Federal Court of Justice.

Hahlbrock GmbH was represented in both instances by the law firms Wildanger Kehrwald Graf von Schwerin & Partner and Cohausz & Florack (C&F), both located in Düsseldorf.