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Improver Corporation and Others v. Remington Consumer Products Ltd

1990 F.S.R. 181 (1989)

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Improver Corporation and Others v. Remington Consumer Products Ltd

England and Wales High Court, Chancery Division

1990 F.S.R. 181 (1989)

Facts

In 1982, two Israeli citizens invented a device called Epilady, which removed hair through a process called depilation. Unlike shaving, depilation removed an entire thread of hair, including the root, rather than simply cutting the hair at the root. The patent for Epilady involved six underlying patents. Four of these patents were for manually operated helical springs, whereby the springs pulled the hair out from the skin. The other two patents involved power-operated devices that involved rotating discs on an axle that gripped the hair. Another product, Smooth and Silky, consisted of power-operated devices but did not use a helical spring. Instead, Smooth and Silky used a rubber rod. However, this rubber rod served the same purpose as the helical spring and plucked hair from skin. Multiple lawsuits arose over the patent to Epilady, but only the German lawsuits reached trial. The German courts found that the Smooth and Silky invention infringed upon the Epilady patent. Epilady’s inventors and patent holders (plaintiffs) asked the British courts to apply the ruling of the earlier German courts finding infringement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hoffman, J.)

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