Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Suntory Loses A Patent Infringement Case on Nonalcoholic Beer against Asahi

Tokyo District Court rejected Suntory Holdings Ltd.'s demand for an injunction against production and sales of nonalcoholic beer of Asahi Breweries, Ltd. on ground of patent infringement (Patent Number: 5382754), on Oct. 29.

The Suntory's patent is characterized by numerical limitations to sugar content, extracted component, and pH value, which improves satisfaction to drink, according to Suntory.

The court made a decision that the Suntory's patent should be invalidated due to lack of inventive step, considering that the description doesn't demonstrate the interconnectedness of each of these numerical limitations, but just showing the range of sugar content, extracted component, and pH value respectively.
Article 104-3  (1) Where, in litigation concerning the infringement of a patent right or an exclusive license, the said patent is recognized as one that should be invalidated by a trial for patent invalidation, the rights of the patentee or exclusive licensee may not be exercised against the adverse party.
Suntory plans to appeal a ruling. 

Note: This patent (No. 5382754) is divided from Patent No. 5314220 based on WO2013/077292 which entered national phase in Australia, Canada, EPO, Korea, and Russia, in addition to Japan.

You can access the decision (Japanese) here.

[Updated on November 12, 2015]
Suntory appealed to the IP High Court on November 12. 

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