News

05/08/16

G+T client BASF succeeds again in patent battle against rival SNF

Gilbert + Tobin is pleased to have successfully represented BASF (formerly Ciba Speciality Treatments Limited) in Federal Court proceedings against SNF (Australia) Pty Ltd concerning BASF’s suite of innovation patents.  The patents (which have now expired) relate to BASF’s Rheomax® ETD technology which is widely used in the treatment of mine tailings.

In 2011, the Federal Court found that SNF had infringed BASF’s innovation patents and that those patents were valid.  This decision was appealed by SNF to the Full Federal Court, but BASF was successful in resisting both that appeal and SNF’s subsequent application for special leave to appeal to the High Court.

Nevertheless in 2014, in a highly unusual application, SNF sought to re-open the first instance decision of the Federal Court in relation to the validity of BASF’s patents.  SNF was wholly unsuccessful in this application, but sought again to appeal the findings to the Full Federal Court.  Within one month of the hearing, the Full Federal Court issued judgment, dismissing SNF’s application for leave to appeal (Full Federal Court decision available here and first instance decision here).  

Patent litigation partner John Lee said, “This has been a long-running dispute in relation to BASF’s valuable Rheomax technology, and we are pleased BASF has succeeded at each stage with an award of costs”.  Although the innovation patents expired in 2012, SNF and BASF remain in dispute in relation to BASF’s pending standard patent applications for Rheomax.

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