26 May 2020


International Cases

Dorel Australia Pty Ltd v. Britax Childcare Pty Ltd

Australia

17.08.2016

Intellectual Property Rights

A "scintilla of invention" remains sufficient in Australian law to support patent validity

Present Matter related to patent application in name of Britax Childcare Pty Ltd (Applicant). A notice of opposition was filed by Dorel Australia Pty Ltd (Opponent). Sole ground of opposition mentioned in SGP is lack of inventive step in light of common general knowledge. It is well settled that the Opponent has onus of establishing the facts supporting grounds of opposition.

Specification states that present invention relates to means for improving securement of child restraint systems for vehicles, and particularly those child restraint systems comprising a base and an infant carrier which is removably securable to the base. Some child restraint systems comprise a base and an infant carrier which is removably securable to base, and which may, along with a stroller, form part of a ‘travel system’. Base is positioned upon a rear vehicle seat and secured to vehicle by means of a vehicle seat belt, for example a lap/sash belt, and a tether strap then extends from infant carrier to a vehicle anchorage point on a shelf behind the rear seat”. Improved securement means of instant invention tethers both base and the infant carrier to vehicle anchorage point. Specific design configurations of securement means are described in six embodiments with reference.

Fair reading of claims with a particular reference to word “for”, which somewhat pointed towards intention and purpose, suggested a broader interpretation. Securement meant as defined was a design feature having the purpose or use of securing child restraint system. Regardless of whether it was fully attached or not, it was still used for that purpose. An inventive step is often an issue "borne out by the evidence of experts". There is no distinction between obviousness and a lack of inventive step. A "scintilla of invention" remains sufficient in Australian law to support the validity of a patent. Object of invention is “to improve safety of child restraint systems of described type, without substantially increasing weight of infant carrier or over complicating process of attaching infant carrier to and removing it from the base”.

If new information is not likely to change outcome of opposition in a significant way, there is little advantage gained by bringing it into opposition. Evidence on file presented by Opponent did not support finding of lack of inventive step in light of common general knowledge. Furthermore, evidence on file does not include any additional document that, Opponent considered as information mentioned in subsection 7(3). Therefore, based on evidence on file, invention involve an inventive step. Since, lack of inventive step is only ground of opposition, opposition was unsuccessful on all grounds.

Tags : Patent Grant Inventive step

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