Friday, March 30, 2012

Indonesia folding door patent dispute becomes criminal

A Supreme Court patent revocation decision highlights one of the dangers of misuse of the criminal patent enforcement system - for more information on that see here.

Jusman Husen filed various designs and simple patents in 2007 and 2008 for metal sliding gates used as security doors (see photo of the types of doors in question). Two competitors filed revocation actions and successfully revoked 6 of his designs in an earlier case in 2008. But competition turned to active dislike and attack.

In 2009 Husen filed criminal complaints against the two competitors. There followed a raid by the police based on his two patents. So the raided defendants applied to revoke the patents on the grounds that the prior art disclosed the inventions. They had both been in business for 15 years as had many other people selling similar products. They could show this from catalogues.

The Jakarta Commercial Court cancelled the 2 simple patents and stated that Husen was acting in bad faith. Husen then appealed unsuccessfully, twice to the Supreme Court. Finally in March 2012, the Supreme Court decided there was no error in the first Supreme Court panel's decision and stated the invention was not novel.

Indonesia's adoption of a criminal system for patent enforcement has risks, as these businessmen found out. It is increasingly common to use the criminal justice system as club to batter competitors who are not necessarily in the wrong.

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