Stäubli Connectors wins its case

against a copier in Germany

STÄUBLI is delighted to have obtained a final and non-appealable decision in November 2014 from a Court of Appeal in Germany in its lawsuit against a distributor of copies who claimed they were practically identical to STÄUBLI’s safety-keyed RBE couplings series.

Firstly, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment rendered by a Regional Court in Germany ruling that the indications that the copies and STÄUBLI safety-keyed RBE series were interchangeable or compatible was forbidden because it was misleading in terms of quality and of safety. The Court of Appeal even extended the initial decision to include indications of interchangeability or compatibility for all of the couplings of STÄUBLI’s RBE series. STÄUBLI has thus obtained a ruling that use of the indications “compatible” or “interchangeable” is forbidden, and the right to compensation for damages.

Above all, the Court of Appeal recognised that STÄUBLI was well-founded in petitioning to have distribution of the copies in Germany forbidden. The Court of Appeal ruled that distribution of the copies was contrary to competition law since STÄUBLI’s safety-keyed RBE couplings have a particularity that is recognised on the market (the combination of the press-button and of the safety key system based on a mechanical and colour code) and since the difference in the quality of the copies that were claimed to be practically identical was harmful to the reputation of the STÄUBLI couplings. In addition to it being ruled that it is forbidden to put the copies on sale, STÄUBLI also obtained the right to compensation for all damages.

This final decision by the German judicial system has reinforced STÄUBLI’s determination to take legal proceedings against manufacturers and distributors of copies who do not hesitate to appropriate distinctive elements that are specific to STÄUBLI and to claim their products are compatible with the original STÄUBLI products to the detriment of the performance and durability of customer equipment and, above all, to the detriment of user safety.