Park-Line B.V. vs. Payway Oy: Parking patents, prohibition all designated countries
District Court The Hague, 30 June 2004, 03/2732. Park-Line B.V. versus. Payway Oy.
Patents. Both in the principal action and in the counterclaim proceedings it must be examined whether the parking system of Park-line does or does not violate EP 039.
“3.14. Both in the system of Park-line and the patented system the function of the parking place code therefore lies in the rate differentiation. The assignment of one code to several individual parking places within a parking area to which the same parking conditions apply, as in the system of Park-line, is not an essentially different measure than the assignment of different unique codes - but still indicating the same rate - to individual parking places within such a parking area. After all, in that way the same result (namely a hardware-free parking system for public areas) is achieved in essentially the same manner (sending a rate-indicating code). In that way the system of Park-line comes within the equivalence scope of EP 039.”
3.15. The reasonable legal certainty for third parties required by article 69 EPC does not necessitate assuming a more limited protective scope of EP 039. After all, every third party will understand that it is not essential to use a unique code for the different parking places within a zone (to which the same parking conditions apply) but that the same code may be used for that group of parking places. That does not detract in any way from the solution given by EP 039 for the problems involved in the existing methods for pay parking in public spaces consisting of the state of the art. In particular the use of one (rate) code for several parking places does not affect the necessary check of payment. After all, in that case checking is also made possible by the unique vehicle code. Furthermore it cannot be concluded in reason from the file of the grant of the patent in any way that the assignment of a unique code to every individual parking place would be of essential interest to (the patentability of) the invention and even less that PayWay had wanted to waive the protection of versions lying within the equivalence scope of the patent.
3.16. From the above it follows that the District Court believes that Park-line infringes EP 039 direct.
3.17. The District Court believes that the prohibition requested by PayWay for all the designated countries may be granted. After all, at the session of the court Pay Way asserted without contestation that Park-line would also want to expand its activities outside the Netherlands, England and Germany (where it is already active). The threat of a patent infringement is enough to grant the prohibition.
Read the entire judgement here.