Patent row erupts over riser protection

Grant Prior 13 years ago

A patent row is heading for court over the design of a riser protection system which prevents construction workers falling through floor voids.

Manufacturer Ambar Kelly is claiming patents for its RiserSafe protection system were infringed by rival Lowe Engineering (Midland) and its Riser Pod product.

Ambar Kelly filed a lawsuit at the Patents County Court this week with the case due to be heard later this year.

Managing Director Alex Bardett said: “It is regrettable that we have had to issue litigation against Lowe Engineering (Midland) Limited.

“They could have avoided this court action by taking a licensing option that was offered to them in the past.

“However, these designs are our property and our livelihood. We are committed to protecting the interests of our shareholders, customers and other stakeholders.”

But Lowe intends to vigorously fight the case and said it has instigated previous action against Ambar.

A company statement said: “Lowe Engineering intend fully to defend the case on the basis that Ambar Kelly’s patent in its current form is, and always has been, invalid.

“Lowe’s Riser Pod predates both the patent and the Risersafe product and has a long history of being the preferred choice for the construction industry.

“Ambar Kelly’s action follows 11 months of attempts by Lowe to resolve this argument without having to go to court.

“Readers are advised to note that Ambar Kelly’s apparent legal ‘action’ is in fact a ‘reaction’ to proceedings launched by Lowe against Ambar Kelly in December 2010.”

Ambar bosses are using the new Patent County Court Rules which are designed to minimise legal costs in copycat disputes and allow smaller rivals to challenge larger firms.

Previously, trying to enforce patent rights could cost up to £1m in legal fees.

Bardett said:  “Thanks to these new changes in patent protection rules, we and other companies like ours have the power to enforce our patent.”

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