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Intellectual Property Enterprise Court
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> Intellectual Property Enterprise Court >> Quinn Packaging Ltd v Linpac Packaging Ltd & Anor  EWHC 2119 (IPEC) (31 July 2019)
Cite as:  EWHC 2119 (IPEC)
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BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS OF ENGLAND AND WALES
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LIST (ChD)
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ENTERPRISE COURT
Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1NL
B e f o r e :
| QUINN PACKAGING LIMITED
|- and -
|(1) LINPAC PACKAGING LIMITED
(2) R. FÆRCH PLAST A/S
Geoffrey Pritchard (instructed by Maucher Jenkins) for the First Defendant
Andrew Norris (instructed by TLT LLP) for the Second Defendant
Hearing dates: 18 and 20 June 2019
Crown Copyright ©
Judge Hacon :
The Linpac Patent
1. A container comprising a base and a continuous side wall extending substantially perpendicular to the base with a peripheral flange formed along the upper, in use, edge of the continuous side wall, wherein the base and the continuous side wall consist essentially of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) wherein a layer of adhesive is located on an upper, in use, surface of the peripheral flange and said layer of adhesive does not extend onto the vertical, in use, surfaces of the continuous side wall and does not extend onto the base wherein the container further comprises a lidding film which may be sealed to the peripheral flange to create a sealed space between the base, continuous side wall and lidding film; and wherein the lidding film is a multi-layer film comprising a seal layer and the seal layer comprises polypropylene (PP) and/or PE.
5. A container according to any preceding claim, wherein the thickness of the layer of adhesive is from 20µm to 100µm, preferably 50µm.
6. A container according to any preceding claim, further comprising at least one denesting recess located in a denesting area, wherein the denesting area is relieved relative to the upper surface of the peripheral flange so that the distance between the upper surface of the relieved area and the base of the tray is shorter than the distance between the upper surface of the flange and the base, and the denesting area is devoid of adhesive.
7. A container according to claim 6, wherein the relieved denesting area is located at the corners of the tray.
The Faerch Patent
1. A container for foodstuff, said container comprising a tray formed from a sheet of material comprising more than one layer, where the material of each of the layers of the formed tray comprises at least 85% of amorphous polyethylene terephthalate, said tray comprising a bottom part, one or more side walls and a peripheral sealing rim at its top, said sealing rim having a substantially flat upward facing sealing surface, wherein, in addition to the material from which the tray is made, the sealing surface is provided with a layer of adhesive along the full circumference of the tray.
7. A container according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the adhesive comprises an ethylene copolymer, an ethylene terpolymer or a blend of such polymers, as well as a wax.
The skilled person and the common general knowledge
The issue on inventive step
"The present invention relates to a method for manufacturing containers, in particular for food products."
"The invention concerns more particularly the manufacture of containers for packaging foods and in which the package is closed by means produced when manufacturing the container. It concerns in particular containers which may be manually opened and are therefore preferably provided with closures termed peelable closures. Thus, the closing function must ensure:
1) A closure which is fluidtight throughout the life of the food and which must satisfy the following requirements:
transports after the closing stage (packaging line, distribution, …);
sterilization in an autoclave, usually for one hour at 121oC (resistance to this temperature and performance of the adherence…);
storage which may be under tropical conditions for one year (40oC/90% relative humidity), and
sudden variations in temperature due to thermal shocks (changing from -18oC
2) Easy opening with a constant force in use.
3) A closure on a clean surface."
"1. Method for manufacturing a container comprising a body defining an opening, a bead of thermoweldable material arranged in proximity to the opening, and a cover sealed on the bead, characterized in that the thermoweldable bead is injected in proximity to the opening when producing the body of the container or when sealing the cover.
2. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the thermoweldable material is injected along one or more continuous and closed lines extending around the container.
3. Method according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the thermoweldable material is injected onto an edge portion of the container.
4. Container capable of being peeled open, characterized in that it is obtained by the method according to any one of the claims 1 to 3.
5. A method for manufacturing a container and/or a container made thereby substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the drawings."
"The location of the bead will be chosen to be in a region which is the least likely to be soiled, a region resisting internal pressures, a region permitting a closure of the edge of the container, in particular on the upper or lower surface of the edge portion of the container."
"According to an embodiment of the invention, the thermoweldable material ensuring the sealing of the container is injected onto the container, in particular onto the edge portion of the latter, along one or more continuous and closed lines extending around the container and termed hereafter beads."
"The material of the bead is preferably chosen so as to ensure that the region of peelability: between the surface of the container and the bead, or in the material of the bead ('cohesive rupture'), or between the bead and the closure member."
The arguments on inventive step
(a) ignore the 'must haves' on page 1 of Ono, in particular the requirement that the container must withstand autoclaving;
(b) ignore the only embodiment illustrated in Ono, in Figure 1;
(c) realise that Ono taught something useful about putting adhesive on the peripheral flange;
(d) ignore the fact that Ono taught applying the adhesive in the form of a bead;
(e) migrate from adhesive bead to adhesive layer;
(f) choose a layer thinner than any bead taught in Ono.
The Linpac Patent
Claim 6 as proposed to be amended
"The layer of adhesive may be applied to the upper surface of the peripheral flange by a roller, such as a silicone roller or a heated chrome roller."
Claim 7 as proposed to be amended
The Faerch Patent
Application to amend the Linpac Patent
(1) No amendment of the specification of a patent shall be allowed under section … 75 if it –
(a) results in the specification disclosing additional matter, or
(b) extends the protection conferred by the patent.
A container according to any preceding claim, further comprising
at least one denesting recess, free of adhesive, adjacent a corner of the containerat least one denesting recess located in a denesting area, wherein the denesting area is relieved relative to the upper surface of the peripheral flange so that the distance between the upper surface of the relieved area and the base of the tray is shorter than the distance between the upper surface of the flange and the base, and the denesting area is devoid of adhesive.
A container according to
any precedingclaim 6, further comprising a denesting area, free of adhesive, which extends partially or completely along the inner periphery of the flange.wherein the relieved denesting area is located at the corners of the tray.
"… the tray of the present invention may comprise at least one denesting recess located in a denesting area, whereby the denesting area is relieved relative to the upper surface of the flange, i.e. set lower than the flange level by a distance of preferably 1mm. The relieved area extends partially (for example as crescents adjacent the corners of the tray) or completely (i.e. both adjacent the corners of the tray and along the sides of the tray) along the inner periphery of the flange …"