Final victory for ICT in Europe on patent infringement case against ESSITY
Industrie Cartarie Tronchetti S.p.A (ICT), a Lucca-based company and leader in the category of high quality tissue paper products for domestic use, with subsidieries in Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Poland, is pleased with the now final decisions of the Paris Court of Appeal, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe and the Barcelona Provincial Court dismissing Essity’s claims of patent infringement in regards to ICT’s three ply toilet paper. The company is also satisfied to have demonstrated beyond doubt that its Branded and Private Label products are produced based on its own proprietary process, and patented under European patent 2 353 859.
The Paris decision, which is the most recent, ends a long-running patent infringement litigation with Essity and affirms ICT can continue to produce and distribute absorbent paper based on its own proprietary technology. The three courts in France, Germany, and Spain, have confirmed ICT’s argumentation that it is using its own novel technology, also patented. Essity’s claims of infringement were based on a patent originally filed by Georgia Pacific, and subsequently becoming Essity’s.
The patent litigation began in 2016 when Essity sued ICT in France, Germany and Spain for the alleged infringement of its patent related to the technical solution for the bonding of three layers of tissue for paper products such as high quality, soft and bulky, toilet paper.
In France, Essity claimed that ICT had breached the French part of its European patent 1 081 284 and that the toilet paper marketed as Foxy Soie Plus, and also certain other Private Labels, all produced by ICT France, had infringed on their patent. Essity demanded that all production operations be halted. The rolls of toilet paper were carefully analysed and there were no findings of infringement. The two French courts in first instance and in appeal rejected the claims and additionally the courts have ordered that Essity pay compensation for the legal fees to ICT Italy and ICT France.
In Germany, the case was first taken to the Mannheim District Court, well reputed in patent matters. The lawsuit mainly focused on the complex questions regarding the construing of the claims of Essity’s patent. The court ruled in favour of ICT, and Essity filed an appeal. In May 2019, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe also ruled that the German part of the patent 1 081 284 was not infringed by products marketed by the German subsidiary of ICT.
In Spain, after a first decision in favour of Essity at the lower court, the Barcelona Provincial Court clearly stated in a very well written appeal that ICT’s products, and in particular, Foxy Seda, Foxy Bouquet, certain Private Label product 3 Ply, were not infringing the Spanish part of the patent 1 081 284.