London, UK — Armour Group has won its long running U.K. legal dispute with Leisuretech Electronics Pty Ltd (“LTE”) in respect of LTE’s A-Bus patent. The High Court judgment handed down concludes that LTE’s United Kingdom patent is invalid and must be revoked.
For many years, Armour has been in dispute with LTE, an Australian company, generally known for its A-Bus brand. 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 has been using a similar method of power and audio transmission over Cat-5 for its Systemline Modular system since the outset, albeit with 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.
Armour have always taken the view that the LTE patent as filed, lacked substance and was indeed an obvious solution using standard audio integrated circuits and industry standard Cat-5 cable, for which nobody in Armour’s view could claim a monopoly.
Despite many attempts on Armour’s part to resolve this matter out-of-court, Armour found itself in a position whereby it had no alternative but to seek to have the U.K. and European patent revoked in separate actions.
The UK High Court judgment handed down on November 14, 2008, ruled that LTE’s U.K. patent was invalid and must be revoked. This judgment completely vindicates Armour’s position and, at a hearing later this year, will most likely result in substantial costs being awarded against LTE in favour of Armour.
Armour’s legal action at the European Patent Office to have the patent revoked across Europe is ongoing. Armour expects this action to be concluded within the next 18 months and is confident of a favorable outcome.
On learning of the judgement, George Dexter, Armour’s chief executive commented: “I am delighted with the result and whilst I have been quietly confident about the outcome, it is nice to have the judgment. We have always believed this to be an unnecessary dispute and have gone to great lengths over the past two or so years to negotiate with LeisureTech to avoid the expense and distraction of a full court hearing. However, these efforts failed, we ended up in Court and have now won.”
Mr Dexter continued: “The matter is not quite over yet as we will continue with our revocation action at the European Patent Office. This is a much more drawn out procedure than in the U.K., although we remain extremely confident as to a similar outcome to that received today from the High Court.”