Hogan Lovells has announced that the UK Supreme Court has given its decision in the long-awaited Schütz v Werit case, ruling that Werit had not been infringing patent rights by supplying replacing parts. Hogan Lovells partner Stephen Bennett led the team advising Werit.
The court’s unanimous decision means that manufacturers are potentially now able to create replacement consumable parts for objects such as cars or ink cartridges for printers without fear of infringing patent rights.
The Supreme Court ruled that, if replacing parts, manufacturers would have to take into account a range of factors, including whether the part is expected to be replaced in the normal life of the larger item and whether it forms part of the invention.
According to Bennett, the court’s decision removes an obstacle to reconditioning — it means that manufacturers can now potentially create replacement parts for larger consumable objects without fear of infringing patent rights. It also has the potential to open up the market for consumable parts and allow more competition in the manufacture of consumable parts such as filters and cartridges, he said.