Plastic Milk Bottle Producers in Patent War

A company which produces plastic milk bottles – tens of millions of which are used in the UK every day – has landed a strategic blow on a trade rival in the midst of a bitterly-fought patent dispute.

Company A had accused company B of infringing its patent in the design of a ubiquitous plastic container and, pending trial, sought an injunction to prevent company B from continuing to distribute its container. In the interim, company B had produced a somewhat modified container design and sought a High Court declaration that it did not infringe company A's rights.

In granting that application, the Court found that the modified design was significantly different from its rival. Expert evidence was not required to establish the differences in shape and appearance between the containers and the declaration was therefore granted on a summary basis.

Company A sought to overturn that decision but failed.

In cases such as this, a declaration can be sought to prevent the issuing of an injunction, in order to avoid having to close down production and the attendant losses.

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