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Up the Spout: Bapco Closures v Selpac

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In Bapco Closures Research Ltd and Another v Selpac Europe Ltd [2016] EWHC 550 (IPEC) (18 March 2016), His Honour Judge Hacon had to decide a very short but very interesting point of claim construction.

The patent in suit was European patent (UK) No 1, 656, 306 B1 which had been granted to Bapco Closures Research Ltd ("Bapco") for an opening device for a foil closure (that is to say, a ring pull). The invention is summarized in the following abstract:
"Disclosed is an opening device for a foil closure can be fitted to a container body. The device comprises a spout (4) with a removable disc (10) attached to a pull-ring (12). The disc (10) is secured to the spout (4) by means of a frangible region (30). A foil (8) is sealed to a raised land (34) on a base of the disc (10). The pull ring is mounted to the disc (10) by means of legs so that it applies a force on a peninsula (50) of the disc, thereby reducing the length of the arc over which an initial pulling force is dissi…