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Australian wins minerals processing patent challenge

University of Newcastle professor Graeme Jameson has won a patent challenge brought against him by US manufacturing giant Eriez Manufacturing.

Eriez launched the patent challenge over minerals processing technology, according to the Newcastle Herald.

The manufacturer has developed a device called the HydroFloat Separator while Jameson, working with UoN, developed an “improved method and apparatus for froth flotation in a vessel with agitation”.

Eriez challenged Jameson’s patent 2009346778 under patent law, specifically section 27 and 28, which deal with innovation and novelty.

Previously speaking to patent and IP law firm Baxter IP senior associate Phil Burns, he said cases like these hinge on the innovation factor.

“There are essentially two tiers for patentability: one is the newness, the other is inventiveness”.

It was on both these factors that Eriez took Jameson to court.

Much of the case was hinged on the term froth layer in Jameson’s invention, according to court documents.

Speaking during the case, Newcastle Innovation’s lawyer Rebekah Gar argued that there existed a ‘fundamental’ difference between Eriez’s and Jameson’s developments.

Gay stated that Eriez’s patent described their device as a ‘gravity separator’ where Jameson’s patent outlined a ‘froth flotation device’.

The court found in favour of Jameson and his development, with court documents stating that “Eriez have not established that any [patent] claim lacks novelty”, adding that its claim against Jameson, and in turn Newcastle Innovation, “has not succeeded on any ground”.

Subject to an appeal Jameson has been given the greenlight to carry on with his minerals processing development, with court costs awarded against Eriez.

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