Leeds IP lawyers secure record damages win

Leeds-based intellectual property law firm Kempner & Partners has secured a landmark £500,000 patent infringement damages award for AP Racing.

AP Racing, which manufactures performance brake and clutch systems for road and race cars, was involved in a dispute with rival manufacturer, Alcon Components.

AP Racing developed and patented a range of innovative brake calipers in 2007 which were quickly taken up by the motor racing world, including high end racing teams in Formula 3 and NASCAR.

However, in 2009 Alcon Components introduced a similar range. AP Racing sued Alcon for patent infringement, which was successful in 2014 when the Court of Appeal ruled to prevent Alcon from further manufacture of the calipers and gave permission for AP Racing to pursue financial compensation for its losses.

Following a hearing in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), the judge handed down that court’s highest ever damages award to AP Racing.

Richard Kempner, Kempner & Partners’ senior partner, who represented AP Racing, said: “IPEC ruled that every single caliper sale by Alcon’s US distributor made after the publication of the patent, represented a lost sale for AP Racing, and awarded landmark damages of just under £500,000, plus interests and costs. I believe that this is the highest level of damages ever awarded in the IPEC, and represents a resounding win for AP Racing. Naturally, they – and we – are delighted with the outcome.”

Kempner said that his team faced a number of hurdles in securing the victory, including the fact that all of Alcon’s sales were made in the US and not the UK, and the patent was initially held to be invalid.

“My team, and particularly one of our senior solicitors Brian Whitehead, worked incredibly hard to recover the money our client had lost,” he said.

“We’re very pleased to see that AP Racing’s investment in research and development has now been recognised and safeguarded – it shows that the English legal system will not allow infringers to benefit from unlawful activity, even if the infringing sales occur in the USA.”

Pictured, above: L-R: Kempner partners: Jason Dainty, Martin Delafaille, Stuart Jackson and Richard Kempner