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Easter surprise as Brødrene Hartmann files claim over egg packaging patent

Post Time:2024-03-27 Source:Mathieu Klos Author:juve-patent Views:

Egg carton manufacturer Brødrene Hartmann has filed a lawsuit against Omnipac at the UPC, shortly before Easter. The Danish company accuses its German competitor of infringing a patent on a new type of sealing technology for egg cartons. But this is not the first time that the two opponents have faced each other in court.

Brødrene Hartmann has accused competitor Omnipac of infringing European patentEP 2 755 901, which protects a display and distribution package for eggs. JUVE Patent has learnt from a well-informed source that the claimant filed a lawsuit with the UPC’s Düsseldorf local division on 18 March.

Over the years, egg packaging has evolved from a simple means of carrying the goods to packs with form-fitting shapes. While such cartons provide plenty of space for labels, they also protect the eggs from damage. EP 901 protects a technique to conceal the closure of the packaging, allowing for larger labels on the front.

In 2019, the patent already survived an opposition at the European Patent Office. None of Brødrene Hartmann’s competitors have yet filed a revocation action against the patent at the UPC.

Brødrene Hartmann is seeking an injunction from Omnipac in Germany, France and the Netherlands, the three countries in which EP 901 is valid.

Highly competitive market

The packaging market is highly competitive. Brødrene Hartmann and Omnipac, alongside Finland-based company Huhtamaki, dominate the egg packaging market in Europe.

Billions of eggs are sold in Europe each year. In Germany alone, 20 billion eggs were sold last year. The number of egg cartons is therefore also likely to be in the billions.

Second battle over egg packaging

In 2014, Brødrene Hartmann sued Omnipac for infringing one of its patents,EP 1 373 100 B1. Meanwhile, the Düsseldorf Regional Court stayed the infringement proceedings until there was a final ruling in the nullity case. After the German Federal Court of Justice upheld EP 100, the two companies settled the dispute with an agreement.

Later, Brødrene Hartmann also sued Huhtamaki in Germany for infringing its patent. However, the two competitors also settled the dispute relatively quickly.