Varian Medical Systems International AG v Elekta [2017] EWHC 712 (Pat)

18 May 2017

James Abrahams QC and James Whyte successfully represented the Defendants (Elekta) in Varian’s claim for infringement of its patent for a combined MRI and radiotherapy device.

Elekta denied that its combined MRI and radiotherapy machine infringed the Patent, and further claimed that the Patent was invalid for insufficiency, obviousness and added matter.

The judge held that the patent was not insufficient, but that it was invalid for obviousness and bad for added matter.

Although building a device according to the Patent would have required a considerable amount of work, the evidence showed that the work was essentially routine and that the skilled person or team could therefore have built a combined MRI-radiotherapy machine without undue burden. However, the judge found that a combined machine according to the Patent would have been obvious to the skilled person in light of prior art that taught the use of a combined radiotherapy-ultrasound device. Further, the Patent’s teaching that the radiotherapy beam could be controlled in response to the MRI images added matter over the application, which only discussed control in response to detecting the effects of the radiation.

The patent was therefore invalid. Had the patent been valid, the judge found it would have been infringed by Elekta’s device.

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