INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ENTERPRISE COURT
Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1NL
B e f o r e :
| ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE SYSTEMS LIMITED
|- and -
|SYNERGY HEALTH PLC
SYNERGY HEALTH (UK) LIMITED
GRAVITAS (INTERNATIONAL) LIMITED
Robert Onslow (instructed by DLA Piper UK LLP) for the First and Second Defendants
Heather Lawrence (instructed by Heatons LLP) for the Third, Fourth and Fifth Defendants
Hearing date: 25th March 2014
Crown Copyright ©
Judge Hacon :
"Whether there is an inventive step in using the method of manufacture of absorbent pads described in claims 1, 6 or 9 of European Patent (UK) 2 393 989 ("the Patent") in the manufacture of a barrage unit".
"A method of manufacture of a barrage unit comprising providing a chamber having an outer wall having at least one aperture therein; providing a liner layer proximate to the aperture; forming a pad; and providing a further liner layer on the pad
characterised in that
the step of forming a pad comprises blowing the fibres of a fibrous material into the chamber whilst providing an absorbent crystalline material to said chamber such that the two mix and exit the aperture onto the liner forming the pad."
"A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the pad and liner layers are arranged within a porous bag or sack."
The person skilled in the art
The law on the person skilled in the art
Procedure in the IPEC
"The person skilled in the art is a manufacturer of water-absorbing products comprising mixtures of absorbent fibrous and crystalline material."
" … The person skilled in the art with respect to the Patent is interested in environmental protection, whether from flooding or blasts, and would have a focus on barrage units for such purposes. Such a person would be interested in finding a replacement for the sandbag and developing new and improved barrage units."
Common general knowledge
(1) There was a great deal of widely available information that would have told the skilled person of the character of a sandless sandbag.
(2) Such information could have been obtained from the many flood fairs that had been organised in flood affected areas and would include the information that sandless sandbags contain a super-absorbent polymer, or similar material.
(3) In addition there were items on the internet dating from before November 2009 relating to sandless sandbags, examples of which he annexed to his report. These stated that sandless sandbags were filled with an absorbent polymer. He said he had obtained thousands of results. (One of his annexed examples, however, was posted on the net a week after the priority date).
(4) The skilled person could have learnt more about sandless sandbags from the fact that they were on the market in November 2009.