Confirmation de l’interprétation large du par. 55.(1) de la Loi sur les Brevets

La cause Jay-Lor International Inc. v. Penta Farm Systems Ltd., 2007 FC 358, (May 14, 2007) concerne le brevet 2,316,092 de JAY-LOR International Inc. qui a obtenu les droits celui-ci par cession le 10 août 200 de JAY-LOR Fabricating, cession qui fut enregistrée au Bureau des brevets le 17 Janvier 2005. M. Glenn Buurma est le principal actionnaire de JAY-LOR International et de JAY-LOR Fabricating.

Un premier point en litige concernait le fait que Penta Farm était d’avis que JAY-LOR Fabricating ne pouvait poursuivre sous l’article 55(1) de la Loi sur les Brevets:

55(1) Quiconque contrefait un brevet est responsable envers le breveté et toute personne se réclamant de celui-ci du dommage que cette contrefaçon leur a fait subir après l’octroi du brevet.

En rappelant la décision Apotex Inc. v. Wellcome Foundation Ltd., 79 C.P.R. (3d) 193, 145 F.T.R. 161, [1998] F.C.J. No. 382 (F.C.T.D.), dans laquelle aucune licence écrite n’avait été requise pour établir une license implicite par vertu du fait que les deux compagnies en question étaient propriété commune, la Juge Snider a décrété que, puisque un lien similaire liait les deux sociétés JAY-LOR, JAY-LOR Fabricating pouvait se joindre à l’action.
Un second point en litige concernait la validité du brevet ‘092 où l’invention revendiqué concerne un

“vertical feed mixer” including “an auger having a centre post with a helical flighting that is tapered to converge from bottom to top… the centre post having an upper surface that is inclined relative to the longitudinal centre axis…”.

Selon le juge:

[76] Turning to the invention embodied in the ‘092 Patent, I note that the sloped upper surface of the invention provides a mechanically simple solution to the problem of jamming bales of hay. However, its apparent simplicity does not lead inextricably to the conclusion that the JAY-LOR vertical feed mixer is obvious and not worthy of a patent. “It is well-established that evidence of a ‘mere scintilla of invention’ is sufficient to support the validity of a patent” (Diversified Products Corp. v. Tye-Sil Corp. (1991), 35 C.P.R. (3d) 350 at 365 (F.C.A.), 125 N.R. 218). Therefore, the simplicity of an invention is not a bar to patent validity.

[88] It is not apparent to me that the Wroblewski invention would ever have come to the attention of our skilled technician in August 1999. Would our skilled technician think to seek solutions to the problem of hay jamming by carrying out research outside the area of agricultural implements? I do not think so.

[89] However, even if the skilled technician had been made aware of the Wroblewski patent, there is little likelihood that he could come directly and without difficulty to the conclusion that a sloped auger top would help reduce jamming hay bales. First, the technician would have noted that the Wroblewski disintegrating machine does not even have a rotating centre auger. The technician would have had to separate the interrelated functions of: a rotating drum; fixed, broad-based, pyramid-shaped centre section; flighting on both the inside of the drum and on the counterbody; and, the inclined surface of the top. This would require much more than the skills of our technician. Stated in other terms, to turn the Wroblewski device into the JAY-LOR vertical feed mixer would require enhancements to the Wroblewski device that consist of much more than “workshop improvements” (Cochlear Corp. v. Cosem Neurostim Ltée (1995), 64 C.P.R. (3d) 10 at 33 (F.C.T.D.), 58 A.C.W.S. (3d) 847).

[90] In sum, I am not persuaded that a skilled technician would have come directly and without difficulty to the conclusion that he or she could take the sloped surface of the top of the counterbody of the Wroblewski patent and use it as a sloped top surface of the auger in a vertical feed mixer to solve the problem of jamming hay bales.

[92] In summary, the JAY-LOR vertical feed mixer was an invention that was not intuitive, that took significant time and effort to develop, that demonstrated immediate commercial success and that was copied by competitors. Cumulatively, the effect of these factors is “simply irresistible” (Beloit, above at 296); the patent was inventive and not obvious. Stated in words that mirror those of Justice Hugessen in Beloit, above, the mythical creature (the man in the Clapham omnibus of patent law) would not, in the light of the state of the art and of common general knowledge as at the claimed date of invention, have come directly and without difficulty to the solution taught by the patent. The claim of obviousness fails and the ‘092 Patent is not invalid by reason of obviousness.

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