Adidas liable for patent infringement in Hungary

Hungarian soccer gear inventor Laszlo Oroszi has recently won a patent infringement claim against German retail giant Adidas in the Hungarian Patent Office.

The patent in question is for a ball-directing striped-line zone that Adidas allegedly incorporated into their ‘Predator Precision’ range of football shoes.

Laszlo Oroszi registered the patent in Hungary on October 14, 1996, explaining that the striped zone at the tip of the shoe permits football players to shoot more accurately. Oroszi’s representative presented the patent to Adidas in 1998, but Adidas declined the offer claiming that it does not fit into their concept for the then new ‘Predator Precision’ soccer shoes. However, Oroszi claims that the Predator Precision football shoes with his patented concept were launched just before the Euro 2000 soccer Championship.

Adidas subsequently initiated invalidation proceedings against the patent in 2006, in response to Laszlo Oroszi’s patent infringement claim. As a result, the court stayed the patent infringement proceedings until the patent status became resolved.

Fortunately for Oroszi, the invalidation proceedings were rejected and the patent infringement claim was allowed to continue.

Although Adidas claimed that they had not infringed the patent and that they had used their own ideas in their ‘Predator Precision’ range, Oroszi was successful in his claim that Adidas had infringed his patent.

However, Oroszi was unable to pursue Adidas for patent infringement outside the country (despite the fact that Adidad had earned millions by using his patent without his consent) because he did not have the funds to do so. Further, Laszio Oroszi’s victory appears to be a short-lived one as the Hungarian jurisdiction was unable to award him damages in respect of infringement outside of the jurisdiction.

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