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
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
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
case a - The case for Gram Engineering
case b - The case for BlueScope Steel
We invented the GramLine steel fencing panel sheet in 1993 and
registered the design in 1994. Our product should be protected
under the Designs Act 1906.
Ours was the first product on the market which was symmetrical,
i.e. the panels looked the same from both sides of the fence.
The ingenuity and practicality of our fencing panels is
demonstrated by their overwhelming commercial success.
BlueScope has infringed our design by copying the essential
features of our GramLine fencing infill sheet in its SMARTASCREEN
We developed our SMARTASCREEN panels independently by means of
a three-stage product development process between 1995 and
We deny that we imitated the design of the GramLine fencing
Our SMARTASCREEN panels have several features which make them
visually different and distinct from the GramLine panels.
The GramLine design should never have been registered in the
first place because it is not novel or original. There were
numerous products already in existence which shared common features
with the GramLine panels when they were launched.
The 21 day time limit for complying with a creditor's statutory demand means just that, regardless of public holidays.
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