EPLAW PATENT BLOG

NL – SEaB Power v. The Waste Transformers Nederland et al.

Posted: January 23rd, 2024

SEaB Power Ltd. v. The Waste Transformers Nederland B.V. et al., Court of Appeal The Hague, The Netherlands, 12 December 2023, Case no. ECLI:NL:GHDHA:2023:2688

Joined cases related to the use of technology for portable Renewable Energy Microgeneration facilities (hereinafter: REM facilities) that allow biogas to be extracted from organic waste at the location where that waste is generated, which gas is used to generate heat and electricity.

In summary proceedings, SEaB Power (hereinafter: SEaB) demands access to certain documents from The Waste Transformers (hereinafter: TWT) with which it wants to prove that TWT infringes two patents it holds on REM facilities. The Court of Appeal rules that SEaB has not established sufficient grounds for a reasonable presumption of an (imminent) infringement:

“6.30

In the opinion of the court, SEaB has not provided sufficient evidence to create a reasonable suspicion of infringement of feature v/iii. Also with regard to this external water storage tank (i) SEaB has not stated that it is equipped with a heater, (ii) TWT has explained that that tank is equipped with an air inlet to prevent anaerobic digestion and (iii) the storage of water extracted from the digested mixture has nothing to do with the storage of the mixture for pasteurization or thermophilic anaerobic digestion.

“6.31

In addition, the court has previously ruled that the small storage tanks within the meaning of sub-feature v/iii must be placed in the container in question, while SEaB explicitly describes an external storage tank in its statement. Here too, an appeal on equivalence does not help SEaB. A REM facility in which the small storage tanks are placed outside a container is not technically equivalent to a REM facility in which these storage tanks are installed inside a container, because this affects the portability as a unit. Acknowledging of equivalence would also not be appropriate here, given the legal certainty that third parties can derive from feature ii of claims 1 and 8/13 of the patents, read in conjunction with the description emphasizing the importance of portability.”

The entire judgment (in Dutch) can be read here.

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