Our client, WEIR Minerals (WEIR), is a multinational manufacturer of mine dewatering equipment, with an annual revenue of almost £2.7 billion.
While the majority of WEIR’s end users are based in Asia and North and South America, many of their products are manufactured in Europe. Maintaining an EPO patent portfolio is therefore fundamental to WEIR’s ability to operate globally. Furthermore, decisions of the EPO may be persuasive in enforcement globally, for example against manufacturers of replacement impellers.
After an opposition was filed against one of WEIR’s European patents by a German competitor, WEIR approached Appleyard Lees to plan and execute a defence. The patent at issue related to impellers used in mine dewatering devices.
The opposition proceeding was particularly complex, based on alleged public prior-use. However, Howard’s team were able to ascertain the limitations of the alleged evidence, diminish the other side’s objections through forensic reasoning and successfully defend WEIR’s patent.
The outcome of this unappealed decision ensured that WEIR was able to maintain its monopoly, particularly for replacement impellers.
Our distinctive service
Our patent prosecution specialists have worked alongside the in-house IP team at WEIR for a number of years. We have helped to develop their European IP strategy and have a deep understanding of WEIR’s needs for their global patent portfolio. We used this knowledge to put together a team of oppositions specialists that would be best placed to handle WEIR’s defence, led by Howard Read.