La Cour d’appel fédérale du Canada réitère les tests de nouveauté en brevets

Dans l’affaire Calgon Carbon Corporation v. Corporation of North Bay (City), 2008 FCA 81, (March 3, 2008), la Cour d’appel fédérale a réitéré deux tests applicables lors de l’examen de la nouveauté d’une demande de brevet: un premier test par rapport à des publications de la matière de l’invention et un deuxième test par rapport à l’utilisation de l’invention. (Dans cette décision. il y avait un débat sur une utilisation de l’invention sans la connaissance de l’utilisateur pouvant affecter la nouveauté de l’invention: e.g. l’utilisation de la lumière ultra-violette pour réduire des micro-organismes.)

Voici les extraits pertinents de la décision:

Test for Anticipation by Prior Publication

[7]               The Federal Court determined that the test for anticipation by prior publication was laid out in Beloit Canada Ltd. v. Valmet OY (1986), 8 C.P.R. (3d) 289 (F.C.A.), at page 297, as follows:

One must, in effect, be able to look at a prior, single publication and find in it all the information which, for practical purposes, is needed to produce the claimed invention without the exercise of any inventive skill. The prior publication must contain so clear a direction that a skilled person reading and following it would in every case and without possibility of error be led to the claimed invention.

In our view, this determination by the Federal Court was correct.

Test for Anticipation by Prior Use

[8]               The Federal Court determined that the test for anticipation by prior use is whether the disclosure is enabling, that is to say a disclosure that would enable the public to make or obtain the invention. The Federal Court held that this test was laid down in Baker Petrolite Corp. v. Canwell Enviro-Industries Ltd. 2002 FCA 158, 17 C.P.R. (4th) 478, and that this test had not been altered by the decision in Abbott Laboratories v. Canada (Minister of Health), 2006 FCA 187 (see paragraphs 117, 125 and 133 of the reasons of the Federal Court).

[9]               The appellant argues that the Federal Court erred in law by adopting this test. According to the appellant, the Federal Court should have reformulated the test in Baker Petrolite on a basis consistent with an obiter dictum of Lord Hoffman in Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals v. H.N. Norton & Co., [1996 ] R.P.C. 76 (H.L.) which reads as follows:

Whether or not a person is working a product invention is an objective fact independent of what he knows or thinks about what he is doing. (The position may be different when the invention is a use for a product; in such a case, a person may only be working the invention when he is using it for the patented purpose…) [Emphasis added.]

[10]           The appellant’s argument is that the Federal Court should have adopted the portion of this quote that is in parentheses as the test for anticipation where the subject matter is a method or use claim. Thus, the appellant urges that anticipation by prior use of a method or use claim requires that the person who is using the method must be aware that such method is being used for the patented purpose.

[11]           The Federal Court applied an interpretation of enabling disclosure that is consistent with the appellant’s view of the appropriate test. This is apparent from the conclusions of the Federal Court with respect to the prior use of the invention at Fort Benton Montana and Weerseloseweg, Netherlands. At paragraph 150 of the decision, the Federal Court concluded that the use at Fort Benton of a continuous broadband of UV light from medium pressure lamps with wavelengths of 200 to 300 nm in doses that can vary from about 10 mJ/cm2 to about 175 mJ/cm2 was for the purpose of disenabling Crypto. In other words, the Federal Court found that the Fort Benton authority was knowingly using the patented method for the purpose specified in the patent. The same conclusion is apparent from a review of paragraph 171 of the reasons in relation to the use of the method in the Netherlands. The Federal Court found that the facility in question knowingly used low dosage UV light for the purpose of preventing Crypto infection.


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