Virgin Atlantic fails in bid to overturn High Court ruling secured by Wragge & Co

A bid by Virgin Atlantic Airways to overturn a High Court ruling secured by Wragge & Co, on behalf of Zodiac Seats UK, has failed at the Court of Appeal.

According to Gordon Harris, head of intellectual property at Wragge & Co, it signals ‘another nail in the coffin’ for the six-year litigation brought against Zodiac, an airline seating manufacturer.

In 2007, Virgin sued Zodiac for infringement of a patent for flat-bed upper-class aircraft seats. The case went to the High Court and then the Court of Appeal, which found the patent valid and infringed. The European Patent Office concluded that the patent was invalid and Virgin subsequently amended it.

However, Virgin continued to press for damages in the UK. Wragge & Co led an appeal to the Supreme Court that, in July 2013, overturned 100 years of patent law and meant that Zodiac did not have to pay up to £49m in damages.

In parallel with this litigation, Virgin brought a further claim alleging that the amended patent was infringed. In June 2012, the High Court concluded that the amended patent was not infringed. Virgin appealed, but the Court of Appeal has upheld the decision. This comes following the successful challenge this week to the validity of another of Virgin’s patents before the European Patent Office.

The core team of specialists supporting Gordon Harris throughout the six-year battle include associate Antony Craggs and solicitor Olivia Harris. They form part of a team of more than 30 lawyers who have been involved in securing the successful outcome for Zodiac.

The intellectual property team won the British Legal Awards ‘TMT Team of the Year 2013’ prize for this work, with the judges praising Wragge & Co for ‘its tenacious and persistent approach’ in the Zodiac case.