Press release of March 28, 2014
Sports balls for ball games like soccer, volleyball and basketball are traditionally manufactured by manually sewing individual panels made from leather or artificial leather. The particular shape of the resulting seams assures superior aerodynamical properties of such a ball. Molten Corporation and adidas have developed a technology avoiding the manual sewing of seams, but instead involving the bonding of the panels onto each other. Using a special folding of the edges of the panels excellent aerodynamical properties as well as improved durability can be achieved.
This development is protected inter alia by the European patent EP 1 080 745 B1 which may be regarded as a fundamental patent in the field of glued sports balls. For example the official match ball for the World Championship 2014 is manufactured using the new technology.
Against the grant of this patent the company Mortex Limited had raised an opposition with the European Patent Office. However, the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office maintained the patent with its decision of April 14, 2010 with only minor limitations. With the decision dated March 26, 2014 of the Board of Appeal 3.2.04 of the European Patent Office the decision of the Opposition Division has been confirmed and the corresponding appeal of opponent has been fully dismissed.
Representatives Mortex Limited:
Müller Boré und Partner: Dr. Daniele Schiuma, Dieter Schaffner (both Patent Attorneys)
European Patent Office:
A. de Vries (Chairman), J. Wright, C. Heath