Written by Peter Heerey AM, QC, Tom Cordiner & Alan Nash. In the proceeding B. Braun Melsungen AG v Multigate Medical Devices Pty Ltd  FCA 1110, Pagone J held certain claims of two of B Braun’s patents for safety IV catheters valid and infringed by the conduct of Multigate. Both patents are for a safety needle protecting device for an intravenous catheter. Both claim the priority date of 12 June 1998 through the same chain of intermediate patents.
Case note by Peter Heerey AM, QC, Tom Cordiner & Alan Nash: correspondents for South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia
Stylis and Commissioner of Patents  AATA 796 28 October 2014
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has refused an application to review a particular decision of the Commissioner of Patents on the basis that the AAT lacks jurisdiction to review it.
Bennett, Greenwood and Middleton JJ unanimously upheld the primary judge’s decision in Miles v Commissioner of Patents  FCA 1017, a case involving a lapsing patent application.
Alphapharm submitted that, although AstraZeneca had succeeded, it had no need to litigate at all because Alphapharm had made it clear that it would desist from conduct of the kind that was alleged to be in infringement of patents, until such time as the result of the appeal in Ranbaxy was known. Nevertheless AstraZeneca commenced proceedings against Alphapharm. AstraZeneca submitted that not only was it entitled to its costs in the normal course, but also that those costs should be taxed on the special basis for which section 19(2) of the Patents Act provides.
Lisica v Commissioner of Patents  FCA 433 7 May 2014 – On appeal to the Court, the applicant did not seek to lead any expert evidence, which might have explained the area of the useful arts to which his invention would make a contribution or at least assist in understanding the language of the specification and the claims. Justice Jessup concluded that in those circumstances, the claim was neither clear nor succinct as required by s 40(3) of the Act: “As a statement marking out the area of the public monopoly which the applicant seeks, the claim falls well short of the standard of clarity required.” His Honour echoed the view expressed by the delegate that the applicant’s attempt to draft the specification and claims without professional assistance, had not helped him.
The first applicant, Damorgold, successfully established that JAI Products had infringed the patent in suit. A residual issue left for later determination was whether the second applicant, Vertilux, was an exclusive licensee of the patent and therefore also entitled to have initiated proceedings pursuant to section 120 of the Patents Act 1990. A written licence was in place between Damorgold and Vertilux that imparted on Vertilux an exclusive licence to exploit the patent, and also purported to record the terms of an oral licence between the parties said to have been in place at least since the start of 2006. Under the licence, Vertilux was entitled to grant sublicences, with Damorgold’s written consent (although Damorgold could waive that requirement).
Successful patentee not required to amend patent to reflect adverse findings in respect of certain claims before obtaining relief for infringement
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Following on from his Honour’s decision reported above, JAI Products asserted that, because the only patent claims upon which Damorgold succeeded were dependent on claims that had been found invalid, it was necessary for Damorgold to amend the patent pursuant to section 105 of the Patents Act before it was entitled to an order for injunctive relief. JAI Products plainly wished to argue that the Court should exercise its discretion not to amend the patent because of culpable delay or the like.
Administrators establish power of sale over patent rights held in trust, but not without Court supervision
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Following on from Neobev Pty Ltd v Bacchus Distilleries Pty Ltd (Administrators Appointed)  FCA 4, where the assignee of certain rights to an invention used to manufacture clean skin spirits obtained a declaration in the Federal Court that the registered proprietor of the corresponding patent held that patent on trust for itself and the applicant as co-owners in equity.
Pre-action discovery application difficult to stomach for potential respondent to patent infringement action
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. AstraZeneca is the patentee of a proton pump inhibitor marketed in Australia as NEXIUM as a treatment for gastric reflux and other stomach acid problems. In late 2013, it sought and obtained pre-action discovery of certain documents submitted by Alphapharm to the Therapeutic Goods Administration in relation to a product, NOXICID, that treats similar conditions. By the present application, AstraZeneca sought pre-action discovery of other documents submitted to the TGA and supporting documentation, and delivery of samples of various NOXICID products.
Respondent’s prior product demonstrations of a competing article sufficient to destroy novelty of most of the claims in the patent in suit
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. The applicants (Damorgold) were the owner and exclusive licensee of a patent for a spring assisted blind mechanism, which had a priority date of 25 August 1999. The issue of the licensee’s right to relief was stayed. Damorgold claimed that JAI Products had infringed a suite of claims of the patent and JAI Products asserted the patent was invalid. In the end, Middleton J found two claims infringed and valid.
Last week, 31 March, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument on the question whether Alice Corporation can patent its software system for a method of payment: Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, Supreme Court Docket No 13-298 (2014). Several patents and claims are in issue, all relating to a computerized trading platform used for conducting financial transactions in which a third party settles obligations between a first and a second party so as to eliminate “counterparty” or “settlement” risk. The issue is whether what Alice Corporation is claiming is even patent-eligible subject matter (let alone knew or inventive). In Australia, the corresponding question is whether what is claimed is “a manner of manufacture”.