Patents and Designs

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We frequently assist clients by investigating patent infringements and, when appropriate, assessing the possibility of revocation. We undertake technical research conducted by investigators with scientific expertise. Our cases range from pharmaceuticals and food manufacture to road safety devices and medical equipment. Some cases involve research at the British Library. Others may require us to trace inventors or other people who may have relevant knowledge. We may be asked to obtain products believed to infringe a client’s patent or to determine whether certain technology was on the market at a particular time.

We also investigate issues related to design. We are frequently asked to locate evidence to assist with invalidating a registered design. In such cases we locate articles that closely resemble the design and were on the market prior to the design in question. We review sources such as trade magazines, advertising records, online blogs and specialist industry forums. We have investigated designs of various products, including cookware, clothing and computer gaming equipment.

Case studies

The French subsidiary of an international pharmaceutical company suspected that another French manufacturer was about to use a nanotechnology process that would infringe one of the international company’s patents. Bishop IP Investigations undertook an investigation that uncovered where, when and in what quantities the infringing product was to be produced. The information enabled our client to serve injunctions at the right time and place.

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A client wished to dispute the validity of a patent related to a process in the brewing industry. Bishop IP conducted research which identified a company that appeared to have been using a similar process. However, the company had recently closed down and its staff had been made redundant. Bishop IP investigators visited the local job centre and identified former employees. The resulting interviews confirmed that the company had indeed used technology similar to that described by the patent before the priority date. Bishop IP’s evidence enabled our client to invalidate the patent.

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A major retailer based in Europe had been accused of infringing a Registered Community Design (RCD) for a particular kind of storage container. Our client wanted to invalidate the RCD and instructed us to identify items bearing some of the essential features of the design and were being sold in Europe before the priority date. We provided a 50 page report on such items, which encouraged the people on the other side of the dispute to settle on terms favourable to our client.