The parties disputed the meaning of an patent and know how licence. The parties disputed whether the agreement referred to IP rights before formal patents had been granted despite the terms of the agreement.
Held: ‘The secret of drafting legal documents was best described by Nicolas Boileau, who was not only a literary critic but a qualified lawyer: ‘Ce que l’on concoit bien s’enonce clairement et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisement’. What one conceives well can be stated with clarity and the words to say it come easily. We should all have that framed and displayed on our desks.’ The parties would have required a knowhow licence in any event in order to provide a confidentiality agreement. The contract having been drafted not clearly by one side or the other, the contra preferentem rule could not be used to settle the matter.
Neuftec’s suggestion succeeded, and royalties were attracted by any product falling within at least one claim in the agreement, but not otherwise.
Peter Prescott QC
 EWHC 2127 (Pat)
England and Wales
Cited – Coco v A N Clark (Engineers) Ltd ChD 1968
Requirememts to prove breach of confidence
A claim was made for breach of confidence in respect of technical information whose value was commercial.
Held: Megarry J set out three elements which will normally be required if, apart from contract, a case of breach of confidence is to . .
Cited – G, Regina (on the Application of) v Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Admn 20-May-2008
The applicants were detained at Rampton. The form of detention denied the access to space in which they would be able to smoke cigarettes to comply with the law.
Held: The claim failed. The legislative objectives were sufficiently serious to . .
Cited – Celltech R and D Ltd v Medimmune Inc Patc 18-Jun-2004
With the consent of the parties, the court tried two questions of US patent law – file wrapper estoppel and argument estoppel, neither of which exists under our domestic law – without needing to receive expert evidence of US law. . .
Cited – Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Assurance HL 21-May-1997
Minor Irregularity in Break Notice Not Fatal
Leases contained clauses allowing the tenant to break the lease by serving not less than six months notice to expire on the third anniversary of the commencement date of the term of the lease. The tenant gave notice to determine the leases on 12th . .
Cited – Bank of Credit and Commerce International SA v Ali, Khan and others (No 1); BCCI v Ali HL 1-Mar-2001
Cere Needed Releasing Future Claims
A compromise agreement which appeared to claim to settle all outstanding claims between the employee and employer, did not prevent the employee later claiming for stigma losses where, at the time of the agreement, the circumstances which might lead . .
Cited – Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society HL 19-Jun-1997
Account taken of circumstances wihout ambiguity
The respondent gave advice on home income plans. The individual claimants had assigned their initial claims to the scheme, but later sought also to have their mortgages in favour of the respondent set aside.
Held: Investors having once . .
Cited – Kempe’s Application 1942
The court considered the meaning of the word ‘application’ in the context of the 1907 Act. Morton J said: ‘Mr Shelley . . argued that . . the words ‘the application’ mean a piece of paper . . and do not mean what he calls ‘the legal proceeding’ and . .
Cited – Antaios Compania Naviera SA v Salen Rederierna AB (‘the Antaios’) HL 1984
A ship charterer discovered that the bills of lading were incorrect, but delayed withdrawal from the charter for 13 days. They now sought leave to appeal the arbitration award against them.
Held: Though he deprecated extending the use of the . .
Cited – Woolard, Re A Patent Application PatC 12-Apr-2002
The question was what was meant by ‘application’ in section 2(3): the request, or the document. It was crucial, because if it meant the document it would have counted as prior art, and would have been novelty-destroying; but if it meant the request, . .
Cited – Mitsui Construction Co Ltd v Attorney General of Hong Kong PC 1986
Lord Bridge said that poor drafting in a contract itself provides: ‘no reason to depart from the fundamental rule of construction of contractual documents that the intention of the parties must be ascertained from the language that they have used . .
Cited – Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd v National Westminster Bank plc CA 1995
The court considered the proper construction of rent review clauses in several cases. The underlying result which the landlords sought in each case was the same.
Held: It was a most improbable commercial result. Where the result, though . .
Cited – Sinochem International Oil (London) Co Ltd v Mobil Sales and Supply Corporaton and Another CA 17-Feb-2000
Cited – Gan Insurance Co Ltd v Tai Ping Insurance Co Ltd CA 3-Jul-2001
A reinsurance contract which contained a clause which provided that no settlement or compromise of a claim could be made or liability admitted by the insured without the prior approval of the reinsurers. The court considered how the discretion to . .
Cited – Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik v Hickson HL 1906
A British patent was not infringed by a sale of goods where the property in the goods had already passed before they arrived in this country. Lord Loreburn LC said: ‘A contract to sell unascertained goods is not a complete sale, but a promise to . .
Cited – Morton-Norwich Products Inc v Intercen Ltd 1976
Graham J addressed the question of whether a Dutch defendant who consigned furazolidone by air from Holland on terms cif Gatwick but denied liability for patent infringement was liable in English patent proceedings.
Held: They were liable as . .
Cited – Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik v Johnson HL 1898
A manufacturer in Switzerland who sold and delivered in that country to an English trader goods manufactured according to an invention the subject of English letters patent had not thereby infringed the rights of the holder of the patent by using or . .
Cited – Morton – Norwich Products v Intercen (No 2) ChD 1981
The plaintiffs had alleged patent infringement and now sought to recover the costs of the action it had had to take for discovery as against HM Customs and Excise, which they said had been necessary to discover the extent of the concealed fraud . .
Cited – Tam Wing Chuen v Bank of Credit and Commerce Hong Kong Ltd PC 1996
The Board considered a banking transaction and the application of a chargeback by the bank, under which a loan was made only after a deposit by a third party against which it was secured, and particularly in the context of the insolvency of the bank . .
Appeal from – Oxonica Energy Ltd v Neuftec Ltd CA 9-Jul-2009
The parties had entered into a patent and know-how licensing agreement, the interpretation of which was now disputed. . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 March 2021; Ref: scu.273174