0370 270 6000

Reaction: Intellectual Property Enterprise Court judgment finds patent infringement based solely on equivalents

6 October 2021

The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has handed down its decision in A Ward Attachments Limited v Fabcon Engineering Limited [2021] EWHC 2145 (IPEC), finding A Ward’s patent to be valid and infringed by Fabcon. National law firm, Browne Jacobson’s patent litigation team successfully represented A Ward. HHJ Melissa Clarke handed down the judgment on 29 July 2021.

The case is notable for a number of reasons. A Ward’s successful infringement claim was unusually run (on the parent patent EP 2 021 268 B1) solely on the basis of the doctrine of equivalents, a concept introduced into English patent law in 2017. 

Fabcon’s defence included an ‘estoppel by acquiescence’ argument, based on the historic correspondence between the businesses. The Judge dismissed this defence, and her analysis of the law on acquiescence will be of value to patentees and practitioners alike.

The Browne Jacobson team was headed up by partner and head of the firm’s patent practice, Mark Daniels with senior associate, Nick Smee and associate, Jessica Johnson.

Mark Daniels commented on the outcome: “We are pleased to have assisted our client in achieving a finding of infringement.  This case is another example of the courts being willing to find for the patentee on an equivalents basis, where the circumstances merit it. R&D teams conducting freedom to operate reviews would be well advised to explore what it is about the invention that gives the technical expert a “buzz”, and stress test that against what they are proposing to develop.”

New Zealand based A Ward specialises in the provision of multiple loading and unloading solutions to a broad range of industries across the globe including agriculture, chemicals and pharmaceutical, food, minerals, plastics and recycling.

Browne Jacobson’s specialist patent litigation team has a broad range of expertise in enforcement of patents, co-ordination of international patent litigation and dispute resolution, dealing with challenges to the validity of patents, patent entitlement issues, declaratory relief and preliminary injunctions and opinion work.

The judgment can be viewed here.

Focus on...

Press releases

Browne Jacobson’s patent litigation lawyers praised in 2022’s IAM Patent 1000 guide

National law firm Browne Jacobson has been ranked again for both its patent litigation and transactional work in the 2022 edition of IAM Patent 1000, the independent guide to the world’s leading patent law firms and practitioners.

View

Blogs

80% hours for 100% pay? That’ll do nicely

As has been widely reported this week, some 3,000 UK workers are taking part in a six month trial to assess the viability of a four-day working week without any reduction in their normal pay.

View

Legal updates

Are spin-ins the new spin-outs?

Browne Jacobson has extensive experience in advising across all aspect of a HEI’s commercialisation strategy. If you would like to find out more, particularly in relation to spin-ins, please get in touch.

View

Press releases

Browne Jacobson’s IP experts shine silver in world’s leading trade mark lawyer rankings

Browne Jacobson’s national IP lawyers are celebrating after being ranked in the 2022 World Trademark Review (WTR) 1000 - the independent guide which recognises leading trade mark experts across key jurisdictions around the globe.

View