Meters Limited v Metropolitan Gas Meters Limited: ChD 1910

The plaintiffs had claimed and proved infringement of patents relating to improvements in gas meters. The Master had assessed damages in the inquiry in relation to the plaintiffs’ loss of profits in relation to entire meters. The defendants now argued inter alia, that this was wrong because the part of the meters embodying the invention was trivial in relation to the whole – the profit on them represented about 1/44th of the whole profit on the meter.
Held: The argument was rejected. Eve J rejected this and also a comparison the defendants had drawn with an earlier case relating to accessories for a car. He ruled that damages should be assessed in relation to profits lost from sales of entire meters.
Eve J said: ‘There the accessories were of a nature capable of being applied to any car, and were certainly capable of being and were in fact dealt with as separate. Here nothing of that sort takes place and the parts incorporating the invention, are, in my opinion, component and essential parts of the meter regulating and controlling – from the Gas Company’s point of view – the most important functions of the meter, that is to say the supply of the exact amount of gas to which the consumer is entitled having regard to the amount he has paid and the current price of gas. In my opinion, the mechanism protected by these Patents is of the very essence of the meter;’
Eve J
(1910) 27 RPC 721
England and Wales
Appeal fromWatson, Laidlaw, and Co, Ltd v Pott, Cassels, and Williamson SCS 5-Feb-1909
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Cited by:
Appeal fromMeters Limited v Metropolitan Gas Meters Limited CA 1911
The defendant having been found to have infringed the defendants patents, now appealed against the method of calculation of damages.
Held: The appeal failed. Fletcher Moulton LJ emphasised the discretion given to a judge, and said: ‘But I am . .
CitedMorris-Garner and Another v One Step (Support) Ltd SC 18-Apr-2018
The Court was asked in what circumstances can damages for breach of contract be assessed by reference to the sum that the claimant could hypothetically have received in return for releasing the defendant from the obligation which he failed to . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 July 2021; Ref: scu.538008