Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr J Elbro
Decision date
9 August 2010
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Richard Wragg v Mike Donnelly
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 section 2, 3, 71
Claim construction, Infringement, Inventive step, Sufficiency
Related Decisions


The patent relates to a device for conducting fluid released from a pressure relief valve of a boiler, via a conduit, to the outside of a building and changing direction of the fluid using a cup-shaped portion at the end of the conduit. The claimant sought a declaration of non-infringement in relation to his Flowflex Pipe Cowl and also alleged the claims to be invalid. The case had previously been the subject of two Opinions.

The hearing officer held that the examples of similar mechanisms being used in other contexts were too different from the present application to justify a finding of obviousness. He also held that the saucer-shaped Flowflex Pipe Cowl endpiece worked in the same way as the cup-shaped endpieces of the invention’s embodiments, and that the holes in the side of the pipe, which extended to the endpiece, meant that the end of the pipe was open to the external environment, as required by the claims of the patent. He therefore declined to grant a declaration of non-infringement.

The hearing officer gave costs on the usual scale to the defendant. He refused to grant costs off-scale, which had been requested on the grounds that the claimant had already had two Opinions go against him, as to do so would be to dissuade potential litigants from instead using the opinions service for fear of a later costs penalty.

Full decision O/280/10 PDF document112Kb