The Madras High court recently dismissed a petition in Mannivanan v. IPAB & Ors. The petitioner in this case, K. Manivannan is a manufacturer of a machine that is used to thresh paddy. Respondent, M. Mani had filed an infringement suit against the petitioners. Countering this, the petitioners filed for revocation of the respondent’s patent, which was eventually dismissed by the IPAB. A writ was filed by the petitioner in the Madras High Court challenging the order of the IPAB maintaining the patent. The Madras High Court dismissed the writ petition challenging the dismissal of a revocation application by the IPAB.
The petitioner argued for revocation on grounds of lack of novelty and that apart, from lack on Novelty by prior publication, the invention claimed by the 3rd Respondent, was fully anticipated by prior public knowledge and also referred to many advertisements published in various Tamil Dailies from the year 2000 till the date of filing of the Application for Patent by the 3rd Respondent. The petitioner also argued that the respondent’s patent was a mere rearrangement of known devices, and therefore falls under section 3(f).
The primordial plea taken on behalf of the Petitioner is that the 3rd Respondent/Patentee had made some minor changes to the invented machine of the Petitioner in particular using the plates instead of studs and further that, the Patentee had fraudulently filed the Application for grant of Patent on 14.09.2004 keeping entire technology of the Petitioner, but making variation in respect of studs and filter.
On analysing the machine of the petitioner and the respondent, the Court said that the two machines were different. The “constructional features” of the respondent’s machine are sufficiently different from the petitioner’s and would constitute an invention. The respondent’s machine used thresher roller instead of rotor studs to beat raw material and thresher vanes instead of helix plates for the threshing operation. The Court further held that the difference between the two machines lies in the distinction between a ‘claim’ and a ‘disclosure’. ‘Claims’ of another patent would result in infringement, while a ‘disclosure’ would take away from the novelty of the other patent. An infringement would always imply a lack of novelty, but the opposite need not be true.
As per the court the claims as worded appear to be distinct. For fuller and better appreciation, the Appellate Board had pointed the difference in the constructional features and the distinct factors to the words employed by the respective parties. The Court also agreed with the Appellate Boards finding at paragraph 12 of its impugned order that the copies of the Tamil dailies relating to the advertisements, do not show any constructional aspects or the important features of the threshing cum separating machine. The Patentee on the other hand had specifically characterized the inventive features in his principal claim defining the scope of the invention and therefore not anticipated by prior knowledge as well.
The court did find that the respondent’s machine could not be a rearrangement of known devices under Section 3(f).