Starting with its ruling in 2010 (Court ref.: 33 O 306/09), the Cologne District Court has decided that copies of Mixpac’s Candy Color (e.g. yellow, teal, blue, pink, purple, and brown) dome-shaped mixing tips represent unfair copies of the mixing tips of Sulzer Mixpac Ltd and result in an avoidable deception with respect to the commercial origin. This initial decision was also confirmed by the Cologne Higher Regional Court with its 2011 ruling (Court ref.: 6 U 189/10).
Mixpac has continued to successfully enforce these rights over the years in many dozens of court actions against, or out-of-court settlements with, imitators of its mixing tips as well as to successfully enforce its patent, trademark or other IP rights against certain infringing colored mixing tips in many countries, such as Germany, Japan, Brazil, the US and the United Kingdom.
For example, in 2009 a US Court in Sulzer Mixpac v. Ritter GmbH, NSJ and Peng Waves (09 Civ. 9705 (DAB)) issued a temporary restraining order, followed by a preliminary injunction, and a default judgement and permanent injunction confirming the validity and infringement of Mixpac’s Colored Dome trademark and two US patents in force at the time and protecting technical aspects of Mixpac’s bayonet coupling mechanism. Several technical aspects of Mixpac’s mixing tips were also covered by European Patents at the time (inter alia EP 0 730 913 B1 and EP 0 723 807 B1) and the German District Court of Düsseldorf as well as the German Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf confirmed in several PI and patent infringement proceedings that Ritter’s mixing tips were infringing the German parts of these European patents at the time (Court refs: 4b O 110/09, I-2 U 151/09, 4a O 30/15, 4a O 36/15).
With the intention of clarifying its rights, settling open disputes, and avoiding future disputes, Mixpac entered into a settlement agreement with Ritter GmbH and its brother owners in 2016. This agreement included a cease and desist undertaking by Ritter (with contractual penalty) that the following dental mixing tips (below) should not be offered anymore:
Soon thereafter, Ritter however began offering and selling the slightly different dental mixing tips (below). After its negotiation efforts failed to resolve the dispute, Mixpac filed a lawsuit to end the breach of the agreement, and, as requested, the district court of Munich (Landgericht München I; 37 O 852/20) granted an injunction against the defendants Ritter GmbH, Frank Ritter, and Ralf Ritter, and ordered that the Ritter Defendants must stop offering those slightly different dental mixings tips (below).
Fig. 2: Ritter slightly different Mixing Tips
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