The first judgment dealt with EP 726 and 675, the first relating to turbo codes and the second to channel coding and multiplexing. Both patents were held to not be entitled to their priority and accordingly invalid due to the intervening prior art. Had they been entitled to their priority, both patents would nevertheless have been invalid for obviousness.
The decision sets out a good summary of the UK courts’ approach to priority (see paras 104-136). It also sets out some interesting comments on the requirement in the UK for patentees to identify claims contended to be independently valid (see paras 60-64). For those wishing to learn more about UMTS in general, it contains an excellent technical primer to the subject matter of the patents in suit.
The second judgment on EP 404 dealt only with the third patent. It was also held to not be entitled to its priority and accordingly invalid due to the intervening prior art. It was also held to be obvious based on both the UK courts’ standard approach to obviousness and also based on what Floyd J called the Agrevo basis, after a TBA decision of the same name relating to herbicides. Agrevo says that a claim to a broad class of chemicals would be rejected for being obvious where the invention (if any) would lie in the discovery that some of that class were herbicides.
Read the decision on EP 404 (in English) here.
Read the decision on EP 726 and 675 (in English) here.
Headnote: William Jensen and Graham Burnett-Hall