The case discussed in this article is not a real case, and the
patent at issue and the alleged infringing product involved in the
case are all discussed on a hypothetical basis. The purpose of
discussing this hypothetical case is to illustrate issues that may
exist in the determination of literal infringement and equivalent
infringement as well as the consequences that the said issues may
lead to. Given that the preciseness of legal provisions and the
flexibility of law implementation seem to contradict each other,
this article does not involve much of the analysis of the ways to
solve the said issues.
Key words: literal infringement, equivalent
infringement, technical problem
Patent at Issue
The patent at issue involves a kind of travel suitcase, and a
division plate is installed within the travel suitcase, which
divides the space inside the suitcase into two parts from top to
bottom. In addition to the function of space division, the other
important function of the division plate is that it firmly supports
the suitcase, making the suitcase stronger. The division plate
plays the role of reinforcing the suitcase, but it also adds weight
to the suitcase. The purpose of the patent at issue is to provide a
division plate with the same firmness but lighter weight.
Claim 1 of the patent at issue reads as follows: "a division
plate of a box, characterized in that eight holes are drilled in
the division plate, and the connection of the centres of the eight
holes forms a square. The centre of the square and the centre of
the said division plate overlap each other, and there are two holes
on each side of the square." The division plate for which
patent protection is being requested under Claim 1 of the patent at
issue can be illustrated in the following Figure 1 (top
The black circles in Figure 1 represent the holes, and the
dotted lines do not actually exist in the division plate, but are
drawn solely for the purpose of indicating the relative positions
of the eight holes. The specification of the patent at issue
describes the technical effects as follows: the weight of the
division plate is reduced because of the drilling of holes, and
experiments show that the way of drilling holes in the division
plate will not weaken the supporting effect provided by the
division plate to the travel suitcase.
Alleged Infringing Product
The alleged infringing product is a kind of box publicly sold
for containing chemicals. There is also a division plate within the
box, which divides the box into two parts from top to bottom. The
two parts are used to contain two different kinds of chemicals
namely A and B. In order to stabilize A and B, a kind of stabilizer
C is placed within the box. C is placed in the upper part of the
box, and in order to enable C to volatilize to reach the lower part
of the box and to stabilize A and B placed therein, some holes are
drilled in the division plate of the box; the way of setting out
the holes is exactly the same as that in Figure 1. It is described
in the operation instruction of the alleged infringing box that the
purpose of drilling holes in the division plate is to enable the
stabilizer C to volatilize to reach the lower part of the box, but
other effects which can be brought about by the division plate are
not mentioned. What should be emphasized here is that although it
is true that the division plate can bring about the effect of
supporting the box, the manufacturer of the alleged infringing
product does not realize that the division plate with the use of
holes enables it to reduce its weight without weakening its effect
of supporting the box. This is because the holes are made solely
for the purpose of enabling the stabilizer to reach the lower part
of the box.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
This article enunciates the recent, much awaited, and landmark judgment delivered on September 16, 2016 by Hon'ble Delhi High Court throwing light on the important provisions of the Copyright Act, 1962.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion recently issued an office memorandum pursuant to receiving representations from various stakeholders for guidance with respect to the applicability of the provisions of Section 31D of the Copyright Act, 1957.
An Invention Disclosure Form is the documentation of the invention. This is a means to document particulars of your invention and submitting it to the patent attorney who is filing your patent application.
The Patents Act 1970, along with the Patents Rules 1972, came into force on 20th April 1972, replacing the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911. The Patents Act was largely based on the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee Report headed by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar. One of the recommendations was the allowance of only process patents with regard to inventions relating to drugs, medicines, food and chemicals.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).