Eversheds wins appeal for Dupont

Eversheds has won a crucial IP dispute for chemicals company Dupont against packaging giant Smurfit.

The case went to the Court of Appeal after Smurfit initially claimed that Dupont’s wine box taps infringed its patent. Smurfit threatened to take legal action against Dupont customer and wine supplier Constellation Brands.

Dupont went to the High Court to get a declaration that its wine tap did not infringe Smurfit’s patent. Smurfit appealed that judgment, but the Court of Appeal has now dismissed the claim.

IP partner Antony Gold led the Eversheds team, which included associates Kate Ellis and Birgit Schluckebier.

Gold said: “Smurfit appealed the High Court judgment on the grounds that it felt Dupont did infringe the patent. The Court of Appeal, very convincingly, said the appeal was unjustified.

“It was a very important case for both parties, but there wasn’t a legal principle at stake.”

Although Gold did not say how he won the instruction, Eversheds is Dupont’s main law firm in England. For the patent case, the firm instructed Daniel Alexander QC at 8 New Square and Piers Acland at 11 South Square.

Nabarro partner Jonathan Radcliffe acted for Smurfit, instructing Michael Silverleaf QC at 11 South Square and Adrian Speck at 8 New Square.

The legal action does not end with the patent decision. Dupont will now seek damages from Smurfit for losses incurred from threats to Constellation and its customers.