Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

A costly administrative error: the Virgin v Zodiac case and Spain’s challenge to the unitary patent system

Last month, the Court of Appeal gave judgment in the long-running patent infringement dispute between Virgin Atlantic Airways (Virgin) and Zodiac Seats.

Ultimately, Virgin’s bid to overturn Floyd J’s (as he then was) judgment failed, with the Court of Appeal upholding the judgment and finding that the patents in suit had not been infringed (albeit one of the patents, subsequently held invalid by the Opposition Division, was found to infringe on a quia timet basis). So, after seven years of litigation, Virgin has ended up with nothing except a huge bill for its own, and Zodiac’s, costs.

However, in addition to arguing that one of the patents in suit was not infringed, Zodiac Seats also asserted that it had been granted by mistake and invited the UK courts to hold that it could not be enforced by Virgin…

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