Knoll Sues Senator Over Alleged Patent Violations on Pixel Table


Knoll is suing British office furniture maker Senator, claiming Senator knowingly infringed on the patent for Knoll's PIXEL training table in the design of Senator's Array table.

Knoll is seeking damages for lost profits, defendant's profits and a reasonable royalty, along with attorney fees and costs. It also is asking the court to permanently enjoin Senator from further alleged infringement.

Knoll would not comment on the pending litigation, but the lawsuit relates to U.S. Design Patent No. D839,638, which was issued to Knoll on Feb. 5, 2019. The patent covers its PIXEL tables, according to the lawsuit, which includes the C-Leg version.

At issue is whether the Array tables by Senator, which Knoll said were on exhibit at Senator's showroom at NeoCon in June, infringe on the PIXEL patent.

Knoll claims the Array table looks “almost identical” to the PIXEL C-Leg version and includes side-by-side photographs of each table as part of the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in the United States District Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“Defendant's Array table has an ornamental appearance that is almost identical to the ornamental appearance of the design shown, described and claimed in the '638 patent,” Knoll alleged in the lawsuit. “Consumers of tables are likely to be confused into thinking that the Array table is the table shown, described, and claimed in the '638 Patent. An ordinary observer, familiar with prior art to the '638 Patent, would be deceived into thinking that the Array table was the same as the patented design claimed in the '638 Patent.”

According to the lawsuit, Senator “has had actual knowledge of the '638 Patent since at least as early as July 17, 2019.” Knoll also claimed Senator had actual knowledge of the patent during the development of the Array table.

Knoll alleged Senator:

  • Knew about the patent prior to NeoCon

  • Designed its Array table to mimic the design of Knoll's PIXEL table

  • Had a goal to develop, make and sell a table that would compete with the PIXEL table so defendant's Array table would have the same look as Knoll's PIXEL table

  • Would have a lower price point for competition with Knoll's PIXEL table

The intention of the lower price was to take market share away from Knoll's PIXEL table “with a table that had substantially the same ornamental appearance as Knoll's PIXEL table.”

Senator announced the launch of Array with a press release prior to NeoCon.

“In a world where everyone and everything needs to be multi-functional, Senator is proud to introduce Array — the latest addition to our desking range. As NeoCon features the latest and greatest in contemporary design, Array is simplicity personified — with its simple design and functionality.

“In today's fast-paced world, multi-use spaces have become common; people often work, meet and collaborate all in the same location. Array has been designed with these multiple audiences in mind. Whether you're conferencing or training, Array is adapted so you can think, learn and work with ease. As the name suggests, Array is a multi-purpose, multi-use desking solution that can be used as a traditional, vertical work or meeting space, or can be used as a presentation or collaboration tool.”

Senator said Array comes with in-built power connectivity, a gas-powered flip mechanism and easily accessible cable management system, so technology can come to the user. With its flip-top surface, Array is available in two base styles and six shapes. It's available in four additional fixed top shapes: trapezoid, crescent, polygon and half round. In addition to this, three quadrants are available that seamlessly clip onto any rectangular Array mobile tables.

“The only limit to Array's capabilities is your imagination,” according to the press release. “And as it is mounted on sturdy castors, it can be moved easily around the floorplate so you can complete your take however and wherever you like.”

Knoll's Pixel was designed by Marc Krusin and won a Best of NeoCon GOLD in the tables training and work category.