Patent Litigation. When David does beat Goliath


It was reported this week that a family company has won its legal fight against huge multi national steel firm Corus.

The initial decision at the Central London Patents Court was appealed by Corus but the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that Corus infringed Qual-Chem’s patent. The Port Talbot firm based in South Wales owned a patent which improved and cut the cost of manufacturing high-quality steel to that produced by Corus. The patent was for a manufacturing process that Qual-Chem claimed had significant benefits for the global steelmaker and was used at Port Talbot for at least a four-year period. Mr Harris, of Mayals, Swansea, was reported to have said on the BBC website: “This is a huge victory for us. We’re delighted by the judgment. The court below and the Court of Appeal rejected every single point taken by Corus and agreed that we had invented and patented a process and that this patent had then been infringed. Corus used it for almost four years without paying us a penny but making substantial savings for themselves. In the meantime, they dispensed with our services and – as they were our key client – this was a major factor in Qual-Chem ceasing to trade. Our hearts still go out to our excellent employees who lost their jobs. Corus refused to recognise our intellectual property rights and so forcing us to take our grievance through the courts. Had Corus won this long and complex legal fight my family would have lost everything we’d ever worked for.”

The litigation dragged on for some five years and the Solicitor Hugh Hitchcock, of Swansea firm Douglas-Jones Mercer, said: “For him and his family it has been an incredibly tough five years but I hope they can now get on with living their lives once the issue of compensation is properly resolved.” They and their clients need to be applauded for having the dedication and resolve to continue with the litigation.

The Judgment can be read here

The Court of Appeal Judgment here

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