Leathes Prior faced with £1.5m negligence claim over IP contract

Inventors Friend managing director Stuart Saunders has instructed partner ­Juliet Petchey of Kingston upon Thames-based Howell Jones to pursue Leathes Prior for damages.

The High Court claim alleges that the firm failed to adequately construct an IP agreement that would have legally entitled Saunders to the distribution rights of SpanApplicator, a device used to spread adhesive or cement.

The inventors agreed that Saunders would have the distribution rights to the invention, and if he sold 80,000 units a month Saunders would have sole UK distribution rights for five years, as well as 5 per cent of the sale price of IP rights.

It is alleged that, when the inventors agreed to sell the product through a third party, Saunders was unable to mount a legal challenge because the contract drawn up by Leathes Prior partner Jonathan Chadd failed to outline the agreement ­adequately. As a consequence it is alleged that Saunders missed out on three years of profit.