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Thomas Russell

Whalen suing four competitors over patent

SAN DIEGO - Home office and home entertainment specialist Whalen Furniture has filed patent infringement lawsuits against four competitors, alleging they are selling products that use a similar television support and mounting system Whalen received a patent for on Dec. 20.
     The company is suing ZLine Designs, Walker Edison Furniture, Bell'O International Corp. and TechCraft Mfg., alleging that they infringed on what Whalen calls the "311" patent that covers the TV support and mounting system. The suits were filed Dec. 20-22 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
     The suits say the defendants are selling television stands covered by one or more claims of the 311 patent, in competition with Whalen. The suits claim that Whalen has suffered injury related to the infringement and is seeking jury trials to resolve the matter. They also seek a permanent injunction to stop the alleged patent infringement by the defendants.
     In a statement released Wednesday, Z-Line Designs CEO Jim Sexton said the company believes the lawsuit has no merit.
     "Z-Line stands behind its home entertainment products and the retailers who sell them," he said, adding that the company is seeking legal advice on Whalen's patent. "Z-Line believes strongly in the importance of intellectual property rights and, indeed, has many patents in its own patent portfolio. At this point, we do not believe that any of our home entertainment products infringe the Whalen patents," Sexton said.
     Whalen Furniture President Ken Whalen was not immediately available for comment.

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