The Infringer Has To Prove A Lack Of Good Faith Or
Reasonable Skill And Knowledge ("GFRSK")
Before the UK Patents Act was amended with effect from 1st
October 2005, a defendant found to infringe a patent could escape
having to pay damages where the patent had been amended and the
patent attorney responsible for the amendment was found not to have
acted with good faith and reasonable skill and knowledge
("GFRSK"). This could put patent attorneys and their
patentee clients in adversarial positions, even though the patent
attorneys would normally be working to help prove the
Floyd J, a judge of the English Patents Court, noted in
Nokia v IPCom  EWHC 3460 (Pat) that the amendments
made to Section 63(2) of the Patents Act 1977 meant that a lack of
GFRSK was no longer an absolute bar to relief, and that the court
only had to take it into account when awarding relief. In addition,
the judge held that it was for the alleged infringers, Nokia, to
establish a lack of GFRSK in order to rely upon it.
At the trial of the main issues the judge had held that the
amended claim of the patent at the centre of the dispute included
added matter. The claim had previously been amended to replace
reference to comparison with a random number by reference to an
"evaluation" of a value without any reference to the
random number. At trial the random number comparison feature was
put back into the claim. Nokia's main case on lack of GFRSK was
that no reasonably competent patent attorney could have drafted a
claim without the deleted feature reasonably believing it to be
Floyd J rejected this submission. He noted that an Examiner at
the EPO had accepted the claims even though third party
observations had been filed by Nokia raising the precise point. In
addition, the same point raised by five opponents had been rejected
by the EPO in opposition proceedings. Given that the EPO is not
known to apply a liberal approach to added matter he thought that
this was not the expected fate of claims which, according to Nokia,
were so clearly and unarguably invalid.
"It follows that the issue in the present case has to
be approached on the basis that a reasonably competent patent
attorney could put forward claims in the form in which they were
before amendment and reasonably believe them to be valid. That
finding is important in its own right, and not merely because it
removes the cornerstone of Nokia's pleaded case."
Accordingly the judge found that there was no lack of GFRSK.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The UK Patents Court has found that GSK's patent for the anti-malarial drug Malarone (EP(UK) No. 0670719) is invalid. Malaria is one of the most prevalent tropical diseases, and Malarone is the most successful anti-malarial prophylactic in the UK.
Ever since the introduction of the Community Trade Mark it has been possible to seek registration for "the shape of goods or of their packaging".
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”