Swarovski-Optik KG v. Leica Camera AG & Leica Camera AG, Court of Appeal, London, UK, 15 May 2014, Case no.  EWCA Civ 637
The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Patents Court, which held that Swarovski-Optik’s patent for a telescope design which provided for a wide field of view across all magnifications, was valid and infringed by Leica Camera. The Court did not permit Leica to raise additional grounds in the appeal.
Swarovski owns European Patent (UK) no. 1 746 451, entitled “telescope with wide field of view and variable magnification” (the “Patent”). The Patent is directed to sighting telescopes or riflescopes and provides for a lens configuration which allows the user to view an area that is as large as possible across the entire range of magnification. Leica sold a range of riflescopes which were claimed to infringe the Patent: it claimed the Patent lacked novelty, was obvious over the common general knowledge and three prior art citations, was insufficient and contained added matter.
The Patent disclosed the use of a concave lens in addition to the standard arrangement of convex lenses in a telescope. This removed image curvature which appeared at lower magnifications and had the effect of reducing the field of view.
In May 2013, Mr Justice Vos rejected all of Leica’s attacks on the Patent, holding it valid and infringed (here). Leica appealed, alleging the judge had erred in his construction of the claims, and in relation to the novelty and obviousness findings. Leica also sought to raise additional grounds of appeal.