Peterson v Lucas
Supreme Court of New Zealand
30 March 2006
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
PETERSON PORTABLE SAWING SYSTEMS LIMITED (IN LIQUIDATION) AND C J PETERSON v R C LUCAS AND G W LUCAS & SONS PTY LIMITED
 NZSC 20
This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment.
The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment and reasons can be found at Judicial Decisions of Public Interest www.justice.govt.nz/judgments.
The Supreme Court in its judgment has allowed the appeal on the one issue raised for determination. In a proceeding in which the appellants Mr Peterson and his company (now in liquidation) were sued for infringement of New Zealand patent No 282742, they challenged the validity of the patent. Before the Supreme Court the sole issue was whether claim 7 of the patent is valid as had been found in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
The claim in issue is directed to a portable sawmill. Its broad language has been held by the Court to encompass a portable sawmill construction known and used in New Zealand before the priority date of the claim. For that reasons the claim is invalid for lack of novelty.
The Court decided also that the claim is invalid for lack of inventive step, being obvious having regard to what was known and used in New Zealand before the priority date. The claimed construction merely combines features of two known portable sawmills performing their known functions.
The case has been remitted to the High Court for any remaining issues between the parties to be determined in light of the Supreme Court judgment invalidating claim 7 of the patent.