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Z-Line says Whalen patents to be ruled invalid

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Z-Line Designs is reporting that a recent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office order will invalidate patents by Whalen Furniture Mfg.

Months ago, Whalen filed patent infringement lawsuits against four competitors, including Z-Line, alleging they were selling products that use a similar television support and mounting system Whalen received a patent for last year.

Z-Line said in a press release Thursday that the patent office issued orders in November proceedings with a co-defendant on two Whalen patents in the case, and said all claims at issue in the proceedings were invalid.

These results will invalidate the Whalen patents when confirmed, according to Z-Line.

Officials at Whalen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Z-Line officials said the company takes care to avoid infringements and will defend intellectual property lawsuits vigorously.

"Z-Line itself has a strong intellectual property portfolio that it has developed over many years," said company CEO Jim Sexton said in a press release.

"Z-Line stands behind and is fully committed to its products and (retailers) should not be misled by any claims from Whalen representatives regarding Z-Line's products or its ability to supply those products. There will be no change or impact on the way Z-Line sells and supports their product lines," he said.

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