The manufacturer of a gasket, used to divide and seal glass room partitions, has established that its patent is valid and that it was infringed by a rival company’s product. Arguments that the gasket’s design was obvious and lacking in novelty were dismissed by the Patents County Court.
The gasket, the design of which has been protected by patent since 2005, provides a tight but unobtrusive seal between two or more glass panels, commonly used as partitioning in offices and showrooms, and is based on a hollow tube of non-rigid material which provides improved flexibility when compared to earlier designs.
The manufacturer of a rival ‘fan-shaped’ gasket used in its own partitioning system mounted a wide-ranging attack on the validity of the patent. However, the court rejected arguments that the patent lacked novelty when compared with an American-designed product. Also dismissed were submissions that the patent was invalid on grounds of added matter or insufficiency of precision in the description of the gasket.
Although gaskets of similar design were commonly used in draught exclusion and other contexts, such prior art was not well known at the relevant time by those skilled in the art of designing glass partitions and the patented product was therefore not obvious, the court concluded.
Lizzano Partitions (UK) Limited v Interiors Manufacturing Limited. Case Number: CC11P01049