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Wednesday, 20 July 2005

CONSERVATORY ROOF COMPONENT PATENT EXPOSED

The IPKat has just picked this Court of Appeal patent decision up off today's BAILII additions: it's Burnden Group plc v Ultraframe (UK) Ltd and another; Burnden Group plc v Northstar Systems Ltd [2005] EWCA Civ 867 (Lords Justices Kennedy, Chadwick and Jacob). Burnden owned a patent for components used in the construction of conservatory roofs. In two sets of patent infringement proceedings (one against Ultraframe, the other against Northstar) the defendants counterclaimed for revocation of the patent for want of novelty.
In the Patents County Court Judge Michael Fysh QC ordered the patent revoked; his decision has just been upheld by the Court of Appeal. It seems that the contested claims in Burnden's patent were neither novel nor inventive in the light of the prior art. Given by Lord Justice Jacob, this is a very "techie" judgment which turns greatly on their Lordships' appreciation of the facts rather than on its analysis of the law.

The IPKat is, as usual, open-mouthed at the ability of the judiciary to get their minds round the technical details of patents. Is it their excellent education and general knowledge, he wonders, or is it the high level of explanation given to the judges by counsel on both sides?

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