Sept. 16/23 2013, Volume 27/number 11
Hong Kong—FreeFit has been granted a second U.S. patent, broadening its intellectual property related to loose lay luxury vinyl tile (LVT), according to Samuel Apicelli, a leading patent attorney and partner at Philadelphia-based Duane Morris. FreeFit was granted its first loose lay LVT patent Oct. 31, 2012, which covers the symmetric, self-grip rings employed on the back of its phthalate-free virgin vinyl core. This most recent patent, granted Sept. 1, covers the entire range of geometric possibilities being employed by newcomers into the loose lay LVT market, including triangles, diamonds and wavy lines, Apicelli said.
“This second patent is more broad and covers all patterns and the concept of utilizing geometry to hold the floor in place without glue and click systems,” he explained. “If you use glue or a click system, that’s outside of our patent.”
Though FreeFit shut down a number of infringing Asian loose lay LVT suppliers at Surfaces 2013 as well as at both Domotex Hannover and Domotex Shanghai this year, the company is not seeking litigation, Apicelli added. “We do not want to get caught up in litigation. FreeFit would rather compete with the superiority of its construction, visuals and other advantages such as being GreenGuard Children and School certified. But we do need our intellectual property to be respected. We can only let competitors go so far.”
FreeFit CEO Dave Reichwein said the company shut down smaller infringers because their inconsistent quality could hurt the loose lay LVT market before it’s developed, “and it hurts FreeFit because we have already become synonymous with the concept. I have informed the larger domestic brands about our existing patent, and this information is available for free online. We’ll let them help develop the market for a little while longer. But everyone should be aware of contingent liability. It impacts the entire supply chain down to the retailer and consumer.”