Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Grounds for challenge of UK Comptrollers' Opinions remain narrow

In Nationwide Filter Company v Berni Hambleton BL O/091/10 Nationwide, the owner of a UK patent (GB 2411367), sought a review of a Comptroller's Opinion in which the examiner considered its patent -- which was for a method of forming a filter unit of the type comprising a filter element located in a peripheral encasement frame with a seal between the periphery of the filter element and the frame -- invalid for lack of inventive step over a prior French patent document. J. Elbro, hearing the review, cited the principles articulated by Mr Justice Kitchin in DLP Limited [2007] EWHC 2669 and concluded that, since the examiner’s opinion was not clearly wrong and no error of principle was alleged, there was no basis on which to set aside any portion of the Opinion.

The hearing officer also declined to consider an alternative obviousness argument which was based on a US document, which was raised unsuccessfully by Ms Hambleton. Since this argument had been rejected in the Opinion, it was not within the scope of review sought by Nationwide under the Patents Act 1977, Section 74B.

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