Koninklijke Philips NV v (1) Asustek Computer Inc (2) Asustek (UK) Ltd (3) Asus Technology PTE Ltd (4) HTC Corp (5) HTC Europe Co Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 2230

17 December 2019

James Abrahams QC appeared on behalf of the Defendants in this appeal.

The case concerned three mobile telecommunications patents (“659”, “525” and “511”) that the Claimant had declared were essential to the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System standard. Arnold J at first instance (in separate judgments for each patent) held that 659 was invalid but that 525 and 511 were valid. The Claimant appealed against the decision that 659 was invalid, contending that the Judge had erred in excluding commercial considerations. The Defendants appealed against the decisions that 525 and 511 were valid.    In relation to 659, the Court of Appeal held that if the claimed invention would be arrived at by the skilled person, there was no further hurdle to be crossed concerning whether the invention would be perceived as likely to lead to sufficient commercial success to make its manufacture worthwhile. The Court of Appeal found that Arnold J had therefore been fully entitled to find the patent invalid.

Regarding 525, the Court of Appeal held that as the Judge’s reasoning displayed no error of principle there was no justification for disturbing his conclusion that 525 was not obvious.

Regarding 511, although the Court of Appeal interpreted the disputed paragraph of the relevant prior art differently to the Judge, their interpretation did not render the patent obvious over the disclosure.

The appeals were therefore dismissed.

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