Federal Court puts brakes on truck show exhibit

As noted in the article “Rapid relief – seeking interlocutory injunctions to restrain patent infringement” in the May 2009 issue of Inventive Steps, there appears to be a recent trend for Australian Courts to more readily grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain alleged patent infringement. While the cases mentioned in that article mostly arose in the context of pharmaceutical patents, the decision of Logan J in Tramanco Pty Ltd v BPW Transpec Pty Ltd [2009] FCA 509 illustrates that that this apparent shift in approach to the granting of injunctions is not limited to that field of technology.

Tramanco sought, and was granted an interlocutory injunction to restrain BPW from infringing its patent in relation to a method for logging the performance of a vehicle suspension system. The injunction, while only granted for a short period time, was sufficient to prevent BPW from exhibiting the alleged infringing device at a major international truck and machinery show commencing the day after the hearing of the application.

Logan J considered the usual factors in determining whether such an injunction should be granted. In assessing the damage which might be caused to the respective parties if the injunction were or were not granted, his Honour noted that:

Precisely how much business either company might lose, either by virtue of the granting or not granting of an interlocutory injunction, is, as I have said, wont to raise ephemeral questions. I do note, though, that the patented system is at the heart of the worth of Tramanco, whereas the system of BPW Transpec, which is said to infringe, lies more at the periphery.

Also considered to be of particular relevance was the fact that while BPW’s marketing campaign in relation to the alleged infringing device was relatively recent, that of Tramanco was of long standing, again highlighting the importance of acting without delay in seeking to obtain an interlocutory injunction.