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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Patent litigation in Indonesia - novelty

The Indonesian Supreme Court decided a case last month between an energy industry services business called PT. Mitra Chemindo Sejati and two individuals Haryanto Wardoyo and Forrest Dale Standley over a patent for a "Composition Alkaline Phosphate Solution for Retaining Fluid Pressure with Salinity levels Customized for Wells of Oil and Gas”.

PT. Mitra Chemindo Sejati does R&D in chemical products and had apparently produced some new inventions which they intended to patent. But they discovered that Wardoyo and Standley had registered a patent for "Composition Alkaline Phosphate Solution for Retaining Fluid Pressure with Salinity levels Customized for Wells of Oil and Gas. The company filed a case at the Central Jakarta District Court that the invention was not novel and was in the public domain because the invention is common in the oil and gas industry. The lower court agreed, but the case got appealed.
The Supreme Court judge considered novelty but indicated that there was a different form of protection in the subject patent. from the prior art The Plaintiffs' patent protected a manufacturing process while the Defendant had in its novelty assertions referred to products. What also came out was that the parties had been in dispute before and that a settlement agreement existed, thus complicating the dispute.

It is unclear from the decision why the Supreme Court overruled the lower court's factual assessment of novelty. The case indicates that complex questions of patent law for example around prior art assessment are still in their early stages. Still too few patent cases make it to the Supreme Court for there to be sufficient jurisprudence yet.

 

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