A patent in respect of a brake caliper used in motor racing cars has been declared invalid on grounds of added matter in that its claim to novelty extended beyond that disclosed in the patent application as filed. Whilst acknowledging that the caliper’s design was not obvious and involved inventive steps, the Patents County Court ruled that the patent fell foul of section 72(1)(d) of the United Kingdom Patents Act 1977.
The caliper had a distinctive, asymmetrical, shape and was argued by the patent holder to represent a major advance in the field, achieving an improved balance of lightness and strength. The design was created with the assistance of optimisation software and the court accepted that its attributes would not have been obvious to a skilled engineer knowledgeable in the field.
The court accepted that, had the patent not been invalid on added matter grounds, it would have been infringed by four rival calipers of similar shape. However, ruling against the patent holder, the court observed that the patent’s description of one of the features of the caliper encompassed a concept of greater generality than had been disclosed in the application as filed.