Ground stabilisation specialist, Tensar, has successfully defended its TriAx geogrid product range against several Chinese patent infringements.
The TriAx geogrid – patented in many countries around the world by Tensar for use in ground stabilization, road, rail and other applications – has received numerous awards for innovation and achieved considerable commercial success since its introduction only a few years ago.
Several Chinese manufacturers and their distributors attempted to take advantage of this success by producing similar triangular aperture geogrid products, thereby infringing upon Tensar’s TriAx patent.
Tensar sought the voluntary cooperation of these parties to cease and desist from their infringing activities. When these efforts failed, Tensar commenced legal proceedings in various venues in China to protect its substantial investment in this new technology, which includes a TriAx geogrid production facility in Wuhan.
To date, Tensar has pursued three separate cases through the Chinese legal system and prevailed in each instance.
In one case against the Chinese manufacturer, Chengdu Pike Geosynthetics Company Limited, and its distributor, Beijing Yuhan Century Technology Company Limited and in another case Tai’an Jiarui Construction Material Co. Ltd, Tensar’s TriAx geogrid was found by the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court to be a novel product.
The Court further held that the two companies were infringing Tensar’s TriAx patent registered in China. Tensar was awarded damages to be paid by Pike, which was also required to pay court costs.
In a second matter, Tensar applied to the Patent Re-examination Board (PRB) within the State Intellectual Property Office to revoke a Chinese patent filed by Yixing Huatai Geosynthetics Company Limited.
This company claimed to have invented a product similar to Tensar’s TriAx geogrid. The PRB concluded that the Yixing patent was invalid in its entirety, due in part to Tensar’s pre-existing TriAx patent in China, and ordered that the Yixing patent be removed from the Chinese Patent Registry.
In the third case, another competitor – Hebei BaoYuan Engineering Plastics Company Limited – sought to invalidate Tensar’s TriAx patent before the PRB. In a hearing in July 2011, the PRB ruled in Tensar’s favour finding that all material claims of its Chinese TriAx patent were valid.
Since its original invention of the first integral oriented geogrid in the late 1970s, Tensar has been committed to advancing the geosynthetics industry through new products, applications and engineering.
Part of this commitment is also to protect its Intellectual Property rights from unlawful infringement wherever this may occur. These recent actions demonstrate that it is possible to successfully pursue such cases through the Chinese legal system.