Damages claim

BASF and Carpmaels settle missed appeal deadline case

BASF and mixed firm IP Carpmaels & Ransford have ended their high-profile dispute over a missed appeal deadline at the EPO. The claimant BASF received nominal damages of £1 from the law firm. However, the chemicals giant was ordered to pay £3.5 million costs to Carpmaels and its insurer.

9 February 2022 by Amy Sandys

BASF and Carpmaels have ended their dispute over a missed appeal deadline at the EPO, with BASF paying Carpmaels' insurer £3.5 million. The law firm paid BASF £1 in nominal damages ©Victor Moussa/ADOBE STOCK

A dispute which began in 2018 between BASF and Carpmaels & Ransford is now over. Both parties confirmed to JUVE Patent that, following a settlement and the payments of costs and damages, no more litigation will take place.

According to court documents, the chemical company paid the law firm £3.5 million to cover legal costs. This is just under 80% of the original requested sum. BASF has confirmed that it did not appeal the decision.

Carpmaels also paid £1 to BASF in nominal damages.

Carpmaels’ missing deadline

Multinational company BASF alleged that mixed UK patent firm Carpmaels & Ransford “committed professional malpractice when it failed to file on time an appeal of the EPO Opposition Division’s decision regarding BASF patent, EP 16 63 458.” The patent covers an emission treatment system and method using an SCR filter.

According to BASF, the SCR on Filter (SCRoF) technology controls nitrogen oxides and particulate matter or soot emissions from diesel engines in cars. The chemicals company claimed that Carpmaels & Ransford’s negligence caused “substantial injury” to its business in relation to the SCRoF technology.

As a result, in October 2018, BASF sued Carpmaels & Ransford for substantial damages in the UK High Court. The company alleged that failure to file the appeal caused BASF to lose significant commercial opportunities related to EP 458. Therefore, said BASF, the company suffered damages.

BASF receives nominal damages

However, in late October 2021, the UK High Court stated, “The Claimants are entitled only to nominal damages resulting from Carpmaels’ admitted breach.” Under UK law, nominal damages mean only a very small amount. A form of order hearing at the end of November 2021 determined that BASF had to pay legal costs.

According to previous media reports, BASF had demanded an amount of over $1 billion dollars from Carpmaels. However, according to court documents, the mixed firm has paid BASF £1. In the same order, the court ruled that BASF must pay Carpmaels’ insurer Pamia £3.5 million in costs. The parties had to complete these transactions by 5pm on 14 January 2022.

Parties end dispute

BASF did not appeal the verdict to the presiding judge, nor did it appeal directly to the UK Court of Appeal. According to a spokesperson from BASF, “The company understands the case will be closed”. They did not make any further comments.

At the time of the delayed filing in 2012, Carpmaels was still operating under a different company form to the current LLP. Now the partners from the time of the missed appeal deadline are free of shouldering any potential damages.

For BASF
Reed Smith (London): Charles Hewetson (regulatory and litigation)
4 New Square (London): Roger Stewart (commercial litigation)
3 New Square (London): Miles Copeland (IP)
In-house (New Jersey): Rukhsanah Singh (senior counsel, litigation)

For Carpmaels & Ransford
Clyde & Co (London): Ralph Cox (patent litigation), James Preece (regulatory and investigation, insurance law, Manchester)
Wilberforce Chambers (London): John Wardell (commercial litigation)
8 New Square (London): Henry Ward (IP)
Hogarth Chambers (London): Nick Zweck (IP)

UK High Court, London, Business and Property Courts (Chancery Division)
Adam Johnson (presiding judge)