671905 Alberta Inc. et al. v. Q'Max Solutions Inc., (2003) 305 N.R. 137 (FCA)

JudgeStone, Noël and Sexton, JJ.A.
CourtFederal Court of Appeal (Canada)
Case DateJune 02, 2003
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2003), 305 N.R. 137 (FCA);2003 FCA 241

671905 Alta. Inc. v. Q'Max Solutions (2003), 305 N.R. 137 (FCA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2003] N.R. TBEd. JN.010

671905 Alberta Inc. and M-I Drilling Fluids Canada Inc. (appellants/respondents by cross-appeal/plaintiffs) v. Q'Max Solutions Inc. (respondent/appellant by cross-appeal/defendant)

(A-560-01; 2003 FCA 241; 2003 CAF 241)

Indexed As: 671905 Alberta Inc. et al. v. Q'Max Solutions Inc.

Federal Court of Appeal

Stone, Noël and Sexton, JJ.A.

June 2, 2003.

Summary:

The plaintiffs held a patent for "Invert Emulsion Drilling Mud", a more environ­mentally friendly mud than that routinely used in the oil industry. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant's "Q'Max Mud" infringed the patent. The defendants chal­lenged the validity of the patent.

The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Divi­sion, in a judgment reported (2002), 210 F.T.R. 24, held that the plaintiffs' patent was void solely on the ground of an untrue material allegation in the petition (misnomer of in­ventor). Ac­cordingly, the plaintiffs' patent infringement action was dismissed. Although unnecessary to decide the issues, the court opined that (1) the plaintiffs had no right to sue on the patent and (2) the defend­ant's "Q'Max Mud" did infringe certain claims of the patent. The plaintiffs appealed, submitting that, inter alia, misnaming the inventors was not an untrue material allega­tion that was done wilfully with intent to mislead within the meaning of s. 53(1) of the Patent Act. The plaintiffs alleged that the appropriate remedy was correcting the title and rectifying the records in the Patent Office. Finally, the plaintiffs alleged that the trial judge erred in finding that they were not the "patentee" or "persons claiming under the patentee" under s. 55. The defendant cross-appealed, submitting that, inter alia, the trial judge erred in defining the "person skilled in the art" and in rejecting the defences of anticipation and obviousness.

The Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part and dismissed the cross-appeal. The trial judge erred in declaring the patent void for an untrue material allegation (misnomer of inventor) where the allegation was not made wilfully with intent to mis­lead. However, the trial judge was correct in ruling that the plaintiffs were not persons entitled to maintain an infringement action. Further, rectification of records in the Patent Office was inappropriate absent notice to the defendants and the true inventor. The trial judge did not err in rejecting the de­fences of anticipation and obviousness or in finding that the defendant's "Q'Max Mud" infringed the patent.

Patents of Invention - Topic 572

Registration - Amendment - Correction of errors - [See Patents of Invention - Topic 1507 ].

Patents of Invention - Topic 1030

The specification and claims - Construc­tion of a patent - "Person skilled in the art" - What constitutes - The trial judge agreed that "the persons to whom the specification is addressed are 'ordinary workmen' ordi­narily skilled in the art to which the in­vention relates and possessing the ordinary amount of knowledge incidental to that particular trade. The true interpretation of the patent is to be arrived at by a con­sideration of what a competent workman reading the specification at its date would have understood it to have disclosed and claimed." - The trial judge also agreed that "while the hypothetical 'ordinary worker' is deemed to be uninventive as part of his fictional personality, he or she is thought to be reasonably diligent in keeping up with advances in the field to which the patent relates. The 'common knowledge' of skilled workers undergoes continuous evolution and growth." - The Federal Court of Appeal held that the trial judge did not err in defining "person skilled in the art" - See paragraphs 42 to 43.

Patents of Invention - Topic 1507

Grounds of invalidity - General - Untrue material allegations in petition, specifica­tions or drawings - Section 27(2) of the Patent Act required that a patent be filed by the inventor or his legal representative and be accompanied by a petition - Sec­tion 53(1) provided that a patent was void if a material allegation in a petition was untrue, subject to relief under s. 53(2) for involun­tary errors - The Fleming brothers were named as the inventors in the peti­tion, when in fact another person (Smith) was the true inventor - Smith was not employed by the Flemings at the relevant time - The error was not done wilfully with intent to mislead - The trial judge held that the patent was void by reason of the untrue material allegation in the peti­tion - The Federal Court of Appeal held that the trial judge did not err in finding that the Flemings were not the inventors - However, an untrue material allegation resulting from the misnomer of the inven­tor did not render the patent void unless the allegation was "wilfully made for the purpose of misleading" - The defendants had not alleged a wilful misleading, so the trial judge erred in finding the patent void on this ground - Further, rectification of the records in the Patent Office was inap­propriate absent notice of such application to the defendants or Smith - See para­graphs 23 to 26.

Patents of Invention - Topic 1510

Grounds of invalidity - General - Mis­no­mer of inventor - [See Patents of In­ven­tion - Topic 1507 ].

Patents of Invention - Topic 1590

Grounds of invalidity - Lack of "inventive ingenuity" - Evidence (incl. onus of proof) - A trial judge rejected a defendant's sub­mission that a patent was invalid for obvi­ousness - There was expert evidence to the general effect that the invention was not obvious - The Federal Court of Appeal held that "obviousness is a question of fact for a trial judge ... Accordingly, this court should not interfere with the trial judge's finding on the evidence that the invention was not obvious in the absence of a show­ing that he committed a palpable and overriding error in his assessment of the facts" - The defendants failed to establish such error - See paragraphs 44 to 48.

Patents of Invention - Topic 1602

Grounds of invalidity - Anticipation - Test for - The plaintiffs held a patent for "Invert Emulsion Drilling Mud", a more environmentally friendly mud than that routinely used in the oil industry - The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants' "Q'Max Mud" infringed the patent - The defendants claimed that the patent was invalid on the basis of anticipation or lack of novelty - The trial judge discussed the law respect­ing anticipation and lack of novelty and held that the defendants failed to discharge the burden of proving that the plaintiffs' patent was anticipated or lacked novelty by reason of the state of the prior art at the relevant time - The Federal Court of Appeal held that the trial judge did not err in rejecting the defence of anticipation - See paragraph 43.

Patents of Invention - Topic 1672

Grounds of invalidity - Lack of novelty - State of the art - [See Patents of Inven­tion - Topic 1602 ].

Patents of Invention - Topic 3606

Infringement actions - Parties - Persons entitled to commence action - The Federal Court of Appeal affirmed the trial judge's finding that the plaintiffs were not entitled to commence an infringement action under s. 55 of the Patent Act where, because of chain of title problems respecting the invention, the plaintiffs were not the "pat­entee" or "persons claiming under the patentee" - See paragraphs 37 to 40.

Cases Noticed:

Stein Estate v. Ship Kathy K, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 802; 6 N.R. 359, refd to. [para. 25].

N.V. Bocimar S.A. v. Century Insurance Co. of Canada, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1247; 76 N.R. 212, refd to. [para. 25].

Toneguzzo-Norvell et al. v. Savein and Burnaby Hospital, [1994] 1 S.C.R. 114; 162 N.R. 161; 38 B.C.A.C. 193; 62 W.A.C. 193, refd to. [para. 25].

Swartz v. Canada - see Minister of Na­tional Revenue v. Schwartz.

Minister of National Revenue v. Schwartz, [1996] 1 S.C.R. 254; 193 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 25].

Delgamuukw et al. v. British Columbia et al., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010; 220 N.R. 161; 99 B.C.A.C. 161; 162 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 25].

Housen v. Nikolaisen et al. (2002), 286 N.R. 1; 219 Sask.R. 1; 272 W.A.C. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 25].

Apotex Inc. and Novopharm Ltd. v. Well­come Foundation Ltd. (1998), 145 F.T.R. 161; 79 C.P.R.(3d) 193 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 28].

Beloit Canada Ltd. v. Valmet Oy (1984), 78 C.P.R.(2d) 1 (F.C.T.D.), refd to. [para. 28].

Gilbert (Jules R.) Ltd. v. Sandoz Patents Ltd. (1970), 64 C.P.R. 14 (Ex. Ct.), refd to. [para. 28].

Proctor & Gamble Co. v. Bristol Myers Canada Ltd. (1978), 39 C.P.R.(2d) 145 (F.C.T.D.), refd to. [para. 29].

Apotex Inc. and Novopharm Ltd. v. Well­come Foundation Ltd. (2000), 262 N.R. 137; 10 C.P.R.(4th) 65 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 30].

Apotex Inc. and Novopharm Ltd. v. Well­come Foundation Ltd. (2002), 296 N.R. 130; 21 C.P.R.(4th) 499 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 31].

DEC International Inc. v. LaCombe (A.L.) & Associates Ltd. and LaCombe (1989), 28 F.T.R. 304; 26 C.P.R.(3d) 193 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 32].

Clopay Corp. v. Metalix Ltd. (1960), 34 C.P.R. 232 (Ex. Ct.), refd to. [para. 34].

Pitney Bowes Inc. v. Yale Security (Canada) Inc. et al. (1987), 9 F.T.R. 58; 15 C.P.R.(3d) 347 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 34].

Comstock Canada et al. v. Electec Ltd. and Hyde (1991), 45 F.T.R. 241; 38 C.P.R.(3d) 29 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 34].

Esso Petroleum Co. v. Southport Corp., [1956] A.C. 218 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 35].

Ship Tordenskjold v. Ship Euphemia (1908), 41 S.C.R. 154, refd to. [para. 35].

Athey v. Leonati et al., [1996] 3 S.C.R. 458; 203 N.R. 36; 81 B.C.A.C. 243; 132 W.A.C. 243, refd to. [para. 35].

Almecon Industries Ltd. v. Nutron Manu­facturing Ltd. (1997), 209 N.R. 387; 72 C.P.R.(3d) 397 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 42].

Free World Trust v. Electro Santé Inc. et al., [2000] 2 S.C.R. 1024; 263 N.R. 150, refd to. [para. 43].

General Tire & Rubber Co. v. Firestone Tyre & Rubber Co., [1972] R.P.C. 457 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 43].

Beloit Canada Ltd. v. Valmet Oy (1986), 64 N.R. 287; 8 C.P.R.(3d) 289 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 43].

Procter & Gamble Co. v. Beecham Canada Ltd. and Calgon Interamerican Corp. (1982), 40 N.R. 313; 61 C.P.R.(2d) 1 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 44].

Allmanna Svenski Elektriska A/B v. Burnt­island Shipbuilding Co. (1952), 69 R.P.C. 63 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 44].

Lightning Fastener Co. v. Colonial Fast­ener Co. et al., [1933] S.C.R. 371, refd to. [para. 47].

Bayer Aktiengesellschaft et al. v. Apotex Inc. (1995), 60 C.P.R.(3d) 58 (Gen. Div.), affd. (1998), 113 O.A.C. 1; 82 C.P.R.(3d) 526 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

Créations 2000 Inc. et al. v. Canper Indus­trial Products Ltd. et al. (1990), 124 N.R. 161; 34 C.P.R.(3d) 178 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 48].

Catnic Components Ltd. v. Hill & Smith Ltd., [1982] R.P.C. 183 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 52].

Whirlpool et al. v. Camco Inc. et al., [2000] 2 S.C.R. 1067; 263 N.R. 88, refd to. [para. 52].

Western Electric Co. v. Baldwin Interna­tional Radio of Canada, [1934] S.C.R. 570, refd to. [para. 52].

Statutes Noticed:

Patent Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-4, sect. 52 [para. 33]; sect. 53(1), sect. 53(2) [para. 26].

Counsel:

Donald Plumley and Mark Mitchell, for the appellants;

Patrick Kierans and Frédérique Amrouni, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

Lang Michener, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellants;

Ogilvy Renault, Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec, for the respondent.

This appeal and cross-appeal were heard on April 1-2, 2003, at Ottawa, Ontario, before Stone, Noël and Sexton, JJ.A., of the Federal Court of Appeal.

On June 2, 2003, Stone, J.A., delivered the following judgment for the Court of Appeal.

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    ...by withholding prior art or other pertinent information. If intent is proved, enforce- 56 671905 Alberta Inc. v. Q’Max Solutions Inc. , 2003 FCA 241 at [32] [ Q’Max ], applying Apotex Ltd. v. Wellcome Foundation Ltd ., [2002] 4 S.C.R. 153 at [109], aff’g on other grounds (2000), 10 C.P.R. (......
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    ...59, 12 C.P.C. (5th) 1 ................................................................... 125 671905 Alberta Inc. v. Q’Max Solutions Inc., 2003 FCA 241, 305 N.R. 137, 27 C.P.R. (4th) 385 ................................ 282, 363, 364, 600, 602 674834 Ont. Ltd. v. Culligan of Canada, Ltd. (2......
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13 cases
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3 books & journal articles
  • Patents
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Intellectual Property Law. Second Edition
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    ...by withholding prior art or other pertinent information. If intent is proved, enforce- 56 671905 Alberta Inc. v. Q’Max Solutions Inc. , 2003 FCA 241 at [32] [ Q’Max ], applying Apotex Ltd. v. Wellcome Foundation Ltd ., [2002] 4 S.C.R. 153 at [109], aff’g on other grounds (2000), 10 C.P.R. (......
  • Management and Enforcement
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Intellectual Property Law. Second Edition
    • June 15, 2011
    ...H.C.). 218 La Maur Inc. v. Prodon Industries Ltd. , [1971] S.C.R. 973 at 977 (trade-mark); 671905 Alberta Inc. v. Q’Max Solutions Inc. , 2003 FCA 241 at [34] [ Q’Max ]; Campbell v. Devon County Council , [2008] EWPCC 2 at [76] (Pat. Co. Ct.) (mark “hopelessly invalid” at [69]); Ocular Scien......
  • Table of Cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Intellectual Property Law. Second Edition
    • June 15, 2011
    ...59, 12 C.P.C. (5th) 1 ................................................................... 125 671905 Alberta Inc. v. Q’Max Solutions Inc., 2003 FCA 241, 305 N.R. 137, 27 C.P.R. (4th) 385 ................................ 282, 363, 364, 600, 602 674834 Ont. Ltd. v. Culligan of Canada, Ltd. (2......

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