The Patent Trial and Appeals Board decided the case on Oct. 26, and Ojmar announced the victory in a recent statement provided to Club Industry.
“This is clear vindication for Ojmar and for OEM customers who were held hostage by an invalid patent,” Ojmar US Sales Director James Oonk said in the statement. “We are excited to have successfully defended ourselves against these baseless patent claims from Digilock and look forward to the opportunity to compete in the U.S. marketplace with Digilock on the merits of our product and services and continue to grow our business.”
Litigation began in November 2014 when Digilock filed a patent infringement suit against Ojmar in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Digilock targeted Ojmar’s electronic locks—commonly used at health clubs and universities—ultimately arguing that Ojmar end its business in the U.S. market.
In response, Ojmar challenged Digilock’s claims and, in April 2015, filed for a patent review with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Digilock subsequently dropped two of its three patent claims, according to the statement.
The recent decision by the Patent Trial and Appeals Board—an arm of the Patent and Trademark Office—determined Digilock’s third patent claim was also invalid “based on the existence of prior related patents.” One such patent cited by Ojmar had been previously issued to the president of Digilock, Asil Gokcebay, the statement said.
“This is a classic case of unfair competition that cost customers and Ojmar millions of dollars and blocked us from selling our superior and preferred locking system products,” Oonk said in the statement. “Invalidating Digilock’s patent is a victory for the marketplace and for free enterprise.”
Digilock representatives did not respond to requests for comment.