Ultraframe v Burnden in six-week extension

A dispute over conservatory parts’ patent rights in Ultraframe v The Burnden Group has reached epic proportions, with a further six weeks being added to the trial length.

Patent cases usually last a few days and involve four barristers, but with the added weeks the High Court case is now expected to last at least 12 weeks and will involve nine barristers.

One source described Mr Justice Lewison, the judge responsible for the case, as “someone widely held to be a quick judge”, and expressed surprise at the length of time he had allowed.

Mr Justice Laddie was originally assigned, but was forced to drop out after it was discovered he had been double-booked with another case – last year’s mammoth dispute between Cambridge Antibody Technology and Abbott Laboratories. Clerical error has been blamed for this oversight, and as a result Judge Lewison had to be brought in at short notice.

Another unusual feature of the case is the number of witnesses. While patent cases usually involve only two expert witnesses, in this case some 80 witnesses have been called.

Eversheds partner Michael Clavell-Bate is acting for Ultraframe and has instructed Andrew Hochhauser QC and Martin Griffiths, both of Essex Court Chambers, Henry Ward of 8 New Square and Maitland Chambers’ Chris Parker.

Ultraframe’s other counsel Adrian Speck, of IP specialist set 8 New Square, pulled out because he did not expect the case to run on so long and had been booked to start another, although he has retained a part-time role.

His clerk John Call described the length of time set down for the trial as “very unusual”.

The Burnden Group is represented by Addleshaw Goddard partner Jean Boldero, who has instructed Iain Purvis QC and Kathryn Pickard, both of 11 South Square, and Erskine Chambers counsel Richard Snowden QC and Nigel Dougherty.