FiltaMatix (Pty) Limited v Freudenberg & others
 1 All SA 239 (A)
Supreme Court of Appeal
27 November 1997
Harms, Eksteen, FH Grosskopf, Marais and Schutz JJA
JJF Hefer and I Potgieter
1998 (1) SA 606 (SCA)
. Editor's Summary . Cases Referred to . Judgment .
Appeal Costs Exercise of discretion of trial court No evidence to show that trial court did not have due regard to
arguments regarding costs Trial court also in more favourable position because it had the full application record before it
Appeal Court refusing to reconsider exercise of trial court's discretion
Costs Exercise of discretion of trial court No evidence to show that trial court did not have due regard to arguments
regarding costs Trial court also in more favourable position because it had the full application record before it Appeal
Court refusing to reconsider exercise of trial court's discretion.
Patents Infringement of Patentee bringing infringement action against party which admitted that it had copied its
commercial product Court finding on facts that such party had infringed patent.
Patents Invalidity of Grounds for Ambiguity Meaning of word "selfsupporting" in claim of specification Court
finding no inconsistency between ordinary English meaning of word and the wording of the specification Allegation of
Patents Invalidity of Grounds for Ambiguity Use of words "if desired" in integer of claim in specification Court
finding that this did not render the claim uncertain or unclear but merely reduced the integer to an inessential integer.
Patents Invalidity of Grounds for Anticipation or lack of novelty Patents Act 37 of 1952 Section 1(ix)(d) Party
challenging validity of patent claiming that there was a copy of a document describing the invention when the patent was
registered Requirements for proving lack of novelty discussed Document has to set forth or recite at least the
essential integers of invention in such a way as to identify the process.
Patents Invalidity of Grounds for Anticipation or lack of novelty Patents Act 37 of 1952 Section 1(ix)(a) Party
challenging validity of patent alleging that invention was not "new" Court finding that evidence did not support such
Patents Invalidity of Grounds for Inutility An invention is not useful if it does not effectively produce the result
aimed at or promised by the specification Court finding in casu that the party challenging the validity of the patent had
based its argument upon a misconception of the promise of the invention Allegation of inutility dismissed.
Patents Invalidity of Grounds for Obviousness or lack of subject matter Party challenging validity of patent on basis
that it was obvious Court finding that such party had shown neither that the invention was obvious nor that it was
obvious to the ordinary worker in the art.
Patents Invalidity of Grounds for Various objections raised Each objection had to be considered in isolation but the
evidence led on one aspect would not necessarily be irrelevant to another.
Page 240 of  1 All SA 239 (A)
The First Respondent was the holder of a registered patent in respect of a gas filter element. The Second and Third
Respondents were registered licensees under the patent.
The patent had been registered on 17 September 1975 ("the effective date") for a period of sixteen years, which
period was later extended for a further five years. The specification of the patent included five claims, claims 1 and 5
being pertinent in the instant case.
The integers of claim 1 were:
(a) a gas filter element
(b) comprising a supporting frame and
(c) a plurality of wedgeshaped filter pockets
(d) undetachably connected with the frame, characterised in that
(e) the pockets are of a suitable filtering medium and
(f) have selfsupporting properties