Patent courts decision upheld in Sycurio v PCI Pal [2023] EWCH 2361 (Pat)

The Court of Appeal has upheld the Patents Court decision in Sycurio v PCI Pal [2023] EWCH 2361 (Pat). The case related to telecoms technology for the secure processing of payment information in call centres. At first instance, with Guy Tritton leading Edward Cronan and Laura Adde, the Claimant’s patent was held invalid and not infringed. The Claimant appealed on five grounds, its first ground being that the judge had erred in her construction of the relevant claim. Specifically, the Appellant contended that an integer for “transmitting said request via a data interface to an external entity” required data to be passed directly to that external entity, without entering the call centre’s data processing environment. Such a construction conflicted with various figures and embodiments contained in the patent, which the Appellant argued did not fall within the relevant claim. Having heard argument on construction, the Court of Appeal dismissed the entire appeal. Arnold LJ gave the lead judgment ([2024] EWCA Civ 606) which sets out the reasons, broadly: that the relevant claim was drafted widely; there was no reason to think that the inventors intended to exclude particular embodiments or that the skilled person would conclude they were excluded; and the Appellant’s construction found no support in the literal language of the relevant integer. In short, the judge’s construction had been correct, and so the Appellant’s appeal on validity (and infringement) failed. The successful respondents were represented by Richard Davis KC and Laura Adde of Hogarth Chambers, and Edward Cronan of 11 South Square. They were instructed by Shepherd + Wedderburn LLP.