Hill & Smith files patent infringement case against company of former employees
Intellectual Property July 13, 2018 10:41 pm By Christine Caulfield | Melbourne

UK-based building products giant Hill & Smith Holdings has launched a Federal Court case accusing an Australian company, whose directors are ex-employees, of selling road safety barriers that infringe one of its patents.

In a statement of claim, filed July 9, Hill & Smith claims Safe Barriers Pty Ltd, which sells a range of road safety barrier products under the name Defender, is infringing on Hill & Smith’s own patented safety barrier system.

The Defender products, which are sold as crash barrier beams for temporary use on roads, allegedly infringe at least one claim of Australian patent no. 2007323210, entitled “Crash Barrier Beam”, which was granted to Hill & Smith in November 2013.

“Hill & Smith has not taken these steps lightly, and remains committed to ensuring that its valuable intellectual property rights are protected,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

Hill & Smith, which was founded in 1824 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, says Safe Barriers’s directors were former employees of Hill & Smith’s Australia unit, Hill & Smith Pty Ltd, which is named as a second applicant in the case.

The company says the infringement has caused “substantial loss and damage”, including lost sales and profit, and wants a permanent injunction banning Safe Barriers from continuing to sell the Defender range.

According to the statement of claim, Hill & Smith’s lawyers from Clayton Utz sent Safe Barriers a cease and desist letter dated May 11, but the company continues to sell the infringing products.

Safe Barriers coul not immediately be reached for comment late Friday.

The case is Hill & Smith Holdings PLC & Anop. v Safe Barriers Pty Ltd.

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Christine Caulfield

Christine Caulfield has been a journalist for 18 years. She was most recently the Co-Managing Editor at US legal news publication Law360. Prior to that she worked as the County Court reporter for The Herald Sun. She is Co-Founder and Editor of Lawyerly.