Add2 Research and Development v dSPACE Digital Signal Processing & Control Engineering

17 June 2021

Maxwell Keay acted for the Defendants, dSPACE, in this patent action.  The Claimant, Add2, alleged infringement of a patent for a signal interface circuit for use particularly within simulation systems for automotive engine testing.

dSPACE denied infringement and contended that the patent was invalid. Add2 applied unconditionally to amend the patent. dSPACE raised points under s.62(3) of the Patents Act 1977 and asserted that Add2 was not the proprietor of the patent because the assignment of the patent had been ultra vires and void as an unlawful distribution at common law.

Mr Justice Meade held that the patent was obvious over a 1996 publication. Add2’s proposed amendments to the patent were formally allowable, but were refused because the claims were obvious.  The Judge considered the original assignment of the patent to have been an unlawful distribution but the ultra vires defence failed because of a confirmatory assignment relied upon by Add2. In the circumstances the s.62(3) issues did not arise.

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