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AP Racing Limited v Alcon Components Limited, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (HHJ Hacon), 15 February 2017, Neutral Citation Number [2017] EWHC 248 (IPEC)

This was the second occasion on which AP Racing and Alcon had come to trial in a dispute over brake callipers for use on racing cars. The first trial, heard in December 2012, resulted in a finding of invalidity of the patent in suit, a finding which was overturned on appeal in January 2014. The patent having been found valid and infringed, damages approaching the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court’s (or Patents County Court, as it was then known) £500,000 cap were awarded. This cap reflects the Court’s status as the more junior of the two venues for patent litigation in England & Wales. This second action was brought by AP Racing in March 2015 alleging further infringement of the same patent by eight of Alcon’s calliper designs.

The patent describes the use of software to perform an iterative process of material removal via the finite element method to aid in the design process of high-performance brake callipers. The use of this semi-automated CAD process resulted in an unconventional asymmetric appearance to the calliper with material forming “peripheral stiffening bands” being a key inventive feature.
The judge, following the methodology set out by Floyd LJ in the Court of Appeal, found that one of the callipers infringed the patent, while the other seven did not.

A copy of the judgment can be read here.

Peter Lyons, Marks & Clerk Solicitors LLP