Fencing manufacturer sues rival for infringing its registered design – which case won?
Sydney manufacturer develops superior fencing panels
A case heard in the Federal Court in 2013 concerned a manufacturer of steel fencing panel sheets used in backyard fencing. The manufacturer, Gram Engineering, had ridden the boom in home swimming pool construction and the do-it-yourself backyard improvement wave by developing a product that was superior to other types of steel fencing on the market at that time.
The GramLine fencing sheets had a sawtooth or zig-zag profile with six pans or modules per sheet. The particular advantage of GramLine fencing sheets was that they looked the same from both sides, so there was no “good side” or “bad side”, as was the case with existing products on the market.
Popularity and market share of GramLine panels
GramLine fencing panels were launched in September 1995 and quickly became very popular. By 2002, Gram Engineering had around 35% of the national fencing market and at least 50% of the market in New South Wales. Gram Engineering sourced its raw product from BlueScope Steel.
In 2002, BlueScope Steel launched its own sawtooth fencing panel sheet under the brand name “SMARTASCREEN”. Gram Engineering sued BlueScope for infringement of its registered design.