The team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge, Stephen Jones, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Hayleigh Bosher, Tian Lu and Cecilia Sbrolli.

Friday, 22 April 2005


Smith International Inc v Specialised Petroleum Services Group Ltd [2005] EWHC 686 (Ch), decided today by Mr Justice Lewison and posted on BAILII, touched on the validity of an amended patent.

SPS owned a patent for apparatus for catching debris in a well bore designed for use in the oil and gas drilling industry. The apparatus incorporated a filter through which the well fluid was circulated, to remove debris. Smith applied to revoke the patent on the ground that the invention claimed was not novel and/or did not involve an inventive step. Even after SPS amended its claims, the Patent Office concluded that claim 1 of the patent had been anticipated by prior art but that most of the rest of the patent was fine. SPS appealed against the ruling on claim 1; Smith cross-appealed against the other rulings.

Lewison J allowed SPS' appeal but dismissed Smith's cross-appeals, holding that the hearing officer had erred in concluding that claim 1 was anticipated by prior art. He had concluded that the prior art include a filter and that the invention set out in claim 1 of the patent had therefore been anticipated. This was not however the case.

The IPKat says: "this is one of those cases that seems to turn pretty well entirely on the facts, with no real law in it". Merpel adds, "at least we know that Lewison J is still doing patent cases. He doesn't seem to have had one for ages".

Well bores here and here
Small bores here and here
Big bores here; big boars here

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