The top UK patent cases of 2011


Richard Price and Sarah Innes

Richard Price and Sarah Innes round up the UK's most significant patent cases of 2011.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd v Premium Aircraft Interiors Ltd & Anor

This case concerned the effect of an amendment to a patent after infringement proceedings have concluded. The UK Court of Appeal found Virgin’s patent for aircraft seating to be valid and infringed during the case in 2010. The court ordered an injunction and an inquiry into the level of damages that should be awarded.

Premium wanted the order to be stayed on the ground that there was a pending appeal with the Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office concerning an opposition to Virgin’s patent. However, Premium’s request for a stay was refused by the court. At the appeal hearing, Virgin agreed to delete some of its patent’s claims and amend others. This amendment has a retrospective effect under English law, so Premium applied to the court to vary the order that it made during the infringement proceedings.

Virgin, Novartis, Ranbaxy, Astrazeneca, Halliburton, Eli Lilly