Armour Group Plc has issued a press release stating that it has succeeded with its in revoking the European patent for Leisuretech Electronics’ A-BUS Cat-5 audio distribution technology
The Opposition Division of the European Patent Office revoked the patent at a hearing on February 10, 2010, after a UK. High Court revoked the patent in the November 14, 2008, following a similar action brought by Armour under UK patent law.
Armour has been in dispute with LTE, an Australian company, for a number of years over the validity of the A-BUS patent. The dispute related to a patent owned by LTE, which specified a particular method of sending DC power and stereo audio signals down a single Cat-5 cable in the context of a multi-room system.
Armour’s Systemline brand uses a similar method of power and audio transmission over Cat-5 for its Systemline Modular system, though it claims significant enhancements in the form of balanced line audio and a special DC-to-DC conversion circuit, which guarantees greater energy efficiency and consistency of performance, the company says.
Armour’s contention has been that LTE’s A-BUS patent, as filed, lacked substance and was “an obvious solution using standard audio integrated circuits and industry standard Cat-5 cable,” for which no one, in Armour’s view, could claim a monopoly.
In the company’s statement, Armour’s chief executive George Dexter, commented, “When we won the revocation dispute in the UK in November 2008, I stated that I was confident of the outcome at the EPO and so this confidence has been proved well founded. Nevertheless, this is a very pleasing result and further re-enforces our view that the A-BUS solution was and is obvious and therefore should not be subject to patent protection. These two judgements must raise serious questions with regard to the validity of the patent in other territories where it still remains in force.
“Armour has always acted honourably and with honesty in this matter,” Dexter continued. “We have made every effort to resolve this dispute through a constructive dialogue with LTE, but sadly to no avail. Consequently the matter had to be determined by the Courts, which in both cases found in our favour.”