The manufacturer of an innovative form of a ‘snap-in’ fitting used in shop displays has triumphed in a patent infringement claim against two trade rivals. The fitting’s design was neither obvious nor lacking in inventive steps and the patent protecting it was valid and enforceable, the Patents County Court ruled.
The fitting, made from a resilient metal such as aluminium, was designed to snap into slat-walls used by shop-fitters in the creation of retail displays. The makers of two rival fittings (the defendants) denied infringement and submitted that the patent was invalid and should be revoked.
Ruling in favour of the claimant manufacturer, the court rejected the defendants’ plea that the fitting’s design was obvious to a person skilled in the art and fell within common general knowledge in the shop-fitting industry.
Finding the patent valid and ruling that it had been infringed by both rival products, the court noted that the fitting’s design incorporated the necessary inventive steps for validity and was not obvious when viewed in the context of prior relevant art.