The English High Court has rejected cosmetics brand L’Oréal’s attempt to reopen a patent case over a hair care product.
Mr Justice Birss dismissed L’Oréal’s application on Thursday, July 19.
In June, Birss handed down a judgment in the patent dispute, in which he found that Smartbond Step 1, a hair repair product sold by L’Oréal, infringes a patent licensed to California-based Olaplex.
At the centre of the dispute was UK patent GB 2,525,793, called “Keratin treatment formulations and methods”. Keratin is an important structural protein of hair, and keratin products can smooth and condition the hair.
In response to Olaplex’s allegations, L’Oréal said the ‘793 patent is invalid in light of prior art and asked the court for a declaration of non-infringement.
In the judgment handed down last month, Birss ruled that claims one to ten of the ‘793 patent are invalid. He agreed with L’Oréal that the skilled person would recognise the use of maleic acid as an active agent, so the first ten steps of the patent lack novelty.
However, Birss added that claim 11 of the patent is valid and had been infringed by L’Oréal.
L’Oréal applied to reopen the trial and admit new evidence which, the cosmetics company said, proves that the patent as a whole, including claim 11, is invalid.