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Paris 1st Instance Court - SPORTDESIGN v/ HEELING SPORTS LIMITED et al

Decision date

2011-03-15

Decision No.

RG 10/16923

Nature

Patent

Country

France

Jurisdiction

Paris 1st Instance Court

Parties

SPORTDESIGN v/ HEELING SPORTS LTD et HEELING SPORTS EMEA

Heeling Sports EMEA was represented by Arnaud Casalonga Lawyer, assisted by Olivier Delprat, Patent Attorney.

Heeling Sports EMEA, a Belgian company, has an exclusive license of European Patent EP 1175160 belonging to Heeling Sports Ltd.

The decision validates the Heeling patent by precisely defining the skilled person that must be considered.

The company SPORT DESIGN, which had been formally notified by Heeling to stop selling shoes that Heeling considered covered by the patent of which it was licensee, filed a revocation action against Heeling Sports Ltd. and Heeling Sports EMEA claiming invalidity of the French part of the European patent.

The Heeling patent covers a sport shoe with a removable wheel in the heel. The heel has a housing in which is a wheel is mounted which protrudes from the sole. This shoe is used by lifting or raising the sole so that only the wheel comes into contact with the ground. In another mode of use, the user can walk or run by the front part of the sole bearing on the ground.

Claim 1 defines in general a footwear article. However, the Court considered that the skilled person that must be considered is a manufacturer of products, including shoes, for gliding activities. The Court found that the object of the patent was essentially to allow performing a sport activity, so that the general knowledge of the person skilled in the art is not limited to shoes but also includes various types of skates and skateboards.

On the basis of this interpretation of the skilled person to be considered, the court dismissed the cited documents which do not allow a sporting activity and rejected the application for revocation of the Heeling patent.

In this decision, the definition of the skilled person was essential for the assessment of the validity of the claims.