On 26 September 2005, the Deputy Commissioner of Patents handed down his decision in an opposition proceeding against Sheiman Ultrasonic Research Foundation Pty Limited by Novapharm Research (Australia) Pty Ltd. .
The Patent Application
Sheiman filed an international patent application on 17 February 1999, claiming priority from an Australian provisional patent application. Acceptance of the application in Australia was advertised on 31 October 2002. The matter came to a hearing on 29 August 2005. Sadly, this is an indication of the sort of time periods litigants, even in lower courts, can expect. .
The claims of the patent application included two independent claims. These were:
1. A sterilisation apparatus comprising:
an aerosol generator being adapted to generate an aerosol of a sterilising agent; and
a sterilisation chamber operatively coupled to the aerosol generator so as to receive a recirculatory flow of the aerosol, the aerosol generator being adapted to produce said recirculatory flow and the sterilisation chamber being designed to receive an article requiring sterilisation whereby in operation the recirculatory flow of the aerosol through the sterilisation chamber is effective in sterilising the article..
12. A method of sterilisation comprising the steps of:
providing a sterilisation apparatus including an aerosol generator and a sterilisation chamber operatively coupled to each other;
locating an article requiring sterilisation in the sterilisation chamber; and
providing a recirculatory flow of an aerosol of a sterilising agent through the sterilisation chamber said recirculatory flow being produced by the aerosol generator whereby in operation the recirculatory flow of the aerosol through the sterilisation chamber is effective in sterilising the article.