Leviton China Subsidiary Prevails in GFCI Patent Suit Brought by General Protecht Group

Chinese court rules against Chinese company in favor of U.S. parent

Melville, N.Y.-based Leviton Manufacturing Co. recently announced that China's Guangzhou Intermediate Court dismissed a patent infringement suit last month brought against the company's Dongguan, China-based subsidiary, Leviton Electronic Co., by Tongling Technology Group, now known as General Protecht Group.

General Protecht filed the lawsuit against Leviton Electronic Co. in 2006 claiming that Leviton GFCI products infringed on its design patent for 20A GFCIs. In response, Leviton initiated an action to review the validity of General Protecht's patent on grounds that it merely covered a standard GFCI design that had been available to the public for decades. On September 2, 2009, the Beijing High People's Court determined that General Protecht had no right to the patent. With the decision of the Beijing High People's Court, the Guangzhou Intermediate Court dismissed General Protecht's patent infringement lawsuit.

"We applaud the Beijing High People's Court and the Guangzhou Intermediate Court for properly applying the law and their decisions to vindicate our Chinese subsidiary, " says Meir Blonder, chief intellectual property counsel, Leviton Manufacturing Co. "From the onset, it was clear to Leviton that General Protecht's assertion of its design patent was wrong. As a manufacturer of GFCIs, it is difficult to believe that General Protecht was not aware that the design it claimed as its own, was already a public design. We are sincerely gratified that the Chinese courts concurred with Leviton that these baseless allegations were unenforceable in a Chinese court of law."

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