Chinese manufacturer Newland may no longer sell its gloves for wearable barcode scanners in Germany for the time being. The Munich Regional Court handed down the ruling following an infringement suit filed by German manufacturer Workaround.
Founded by students in 2014, the Munich-based company Workaround is better known under the brand name ProGlove. The company sells wearable barcode scanners. Manufacturers worldwide use these as part of the Internet of Things in logistics and industrial manufacturing – for example in the automotive industry. The advantage is that a small portable scanner is attached to the back of the hand via a glove, leaving the employee’s hand free for other work.
In 2022, Workaround sued its Chinese competitor Newland for imitating its basic glove “Index Trigger”, protected by patentDE 10 2018 112 945 B4.Workers can trigger the ProGlove scanner using an integrated button for the thumb. The scanner itself is interchangeable.
Newland offers a similar product, the EHS glove. The Munich Regional Court found this infringed Workaround’s patent DE 945 and ordered Newland to cease and desist, render accounts and provide information. If Workaround enforces the judgment against a security deposit of €430,000, Newland will no longer be allowed to sell its glove in Germany. However, the Chinese company is currently considering whether to appeal against the ruling.
Unlucky in the first round
Newland is challenging the patent in a nullity action at the Federal Patent Court (case ID: 7 Ni 20/23). The court has not yet set a hearing date.
The verdict from Munich Regional Court is Workaround’s first success against its Chinese competitor. Previously, Munich Regional Court had dismissed a PI application from Workaround due to a lack of urgency.
In 2022 Workaround was also unlucky at Düsseldorf Regional Court. There, the company applied for a preliminary injunction against Newland’s EHS glove on the grounds of design infringement and protection against unfair competition and imitation. However, neither the Regional Court nor the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf agreed with Workaround. They dismissed the application that same year (case IDs: 14c O 37/22 and I-20 W 53/22).