Legal Updates - Patent Infringement

Intellectual Property Law – Patent Infringement – Added Matter – Obviousness – Insufficiency

In the case of Wobben v Vestas-Celtic Wind Technology Ltd [2007], the claimant brought proceedings against the defendant in respect of three of its patents relating to various aspects of wind turbine technology.

The claimant in this case was the owner and managing director of Enercon GmbH, which was a major manufacturer of wind turbines. It was the market leader of such technology in Germany. The defendant was the UK branch of a Danish company. The Danish company was the largest manufacturer of wind turbines and associated technology in the world.

The claimant brought proceedings against the defendant concerning three of its patents (“patents 564, 691 and 078”). The claimant submitted to the court that the defendant had infringed patents 564 and 691.

In response, the defendant submitted that the three patents were invalid on the following grounds:

  • Added matter;
  • Obviousness; and
  • Insufficiency.

The claimant accepted that claim 1 of patent 691 and all the claims of patent 078, except for claims 6 and 7, were invalid as granted. The claimant subsequently proposed to amend those patents.

The court ruled that on the evidence the allegations of infringement failed.

It was held that patent 564 was invalid for added matter, obviousness and insufficiency. In addition, the proposed amended patent 691 was invalid for added matter. The proposed claims 1, 6 and 7 of that patent were invalid for obviousness. Furthermore, the proposed claim 5 was deemed invalid for insufficiency and the proposed claim 2 of patent 078 was considered obvious.

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© RT COOPERS, 2008. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.



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