Court of Appeal The Hague, 8 februari 2011, LJN: BP3734, Van Riet v. Van der Lande
In first instance, Van der Lande obtained an injunction against [..] on the basis of a European patent for a conveyor. The Court of Appeal overturned this decision and held that the sorting apparatus of [..] is not covered by the claims. The Court of Appeal starts out by confirming the legal standard with respect to interpretation of claims under Dutch law. In short, starting point in defining the scope of protections is the wording of the claims, interpreted in light of the description and the drawings. One the one hand, the inventive concept behind the claims can be a viewpoint, in order to preclude a (too) literal reading of the claims. On the other hand, due regard must be given to the reasonable certainty of third parties, which may justify a more literal reading of the claims. In the case at hand, the Court of Appeal defined the inventive concept behind the claims narrowly in view of the state of the art. The technical differences between the claimed conveyor and [..]’s sorting means were moreover held to be such that there was no literal infringement. Finally, infringement by way of equivalency was denied as the technical differences, according to the Court of Appeal, resulted in a different way of achieving the described advantages of the claimed conveyor.
Read the decision (in Dutch) here.
Headnote: Geert Theuws