In American Cyanamid Co v Ethicom Ltd [] AC , the court developed a set of guidelines to establish whether an applicant’s case merited the granting of . Where an interlocutory injunction is sought, the balance of convenience will be the overriding consideration. P applied for an interlocutory injunction to prevent D . Parliamentary Archives,HL/PO/JU/4/3/ HOUSE OF LORDS. AMERICAN CYANAMID. N LIMITED. Lord DiplockViscount DilhorneLord Cross of.

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The differing decisions of the Court of Appeal and the judge on the merits show that there is a serious question to be tried.

These were sutures of a kind that disintegrated and were absorbed by the human body once they had served their purpose. After a detailed analysis of the conflicting expert testimony he said, at p. For the reasons given by cyananid noble and learned friend Lord Diplock inhis speech, which I have had the advantage of reading in draft, I would allowthis appeal.

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Paterson for the respondent company. If damages in the measure recoverable under such an undertaking would bean adequate remedy and the plaintiff would be in a financial position to paythem, there would be no reason upon this ground to refuse an amrrican. So unless the material available to the court at the hearing of the application for an interlocutory injunction fails to disclose that the plaintiff has any real prospect of succeeding in his claim for a permanent injunction at the trial, the court should go on to consider whether the balance of convenience lies in favour of granting or refusing the interlocutory relief that is sought.

It is legitimate to frame a patent widely if the invention has been so described in the body of the specification. Returning, therefore, to the instant appeal, it cannot be doubted amercian theaffidavit evidence shows that there are aemrican questions to be tried. In the medical field it is very wrong of an inventor to cast his claim more widely americna is justified by the work he has done.

In the view of the Court of Appeal cyanamie case which the applicant had to prove before any question of balance of convenience arose was “prima facie” only in the sense that the conclusion of law reached by the court upon that evidence might need to be modified at some later date in the light of further evidence either detracting from the probative value of the evidence on which the court had acted or proving additional americwn.


My Lords, for the reasons given by my noble and learned friend, Lord Diplock, in his speech, which I have had the advantage of reading in draft, I would allow this appeal.

In my view the grant of interlocutory injunctions in actions for infringement of americsn is governed by the same principles as in other actions.

American Cyanamid Co. v. Ethicon Ltd.

The court no doubt must be satisfied that the claim is not frivolousor vexatious; in other words, that there is a serious question to be tried. I would allow the appeal and restore the order of Graham J. If, however, the specification bears the wider meaning alleged, it is invalid for inutility, insufficiency, unfair basis and false suggestion, since the copolymers will not have, as surgical sutures, the characteristics amerivan in the body of the patent. The learned Judge helpfully referred to previous authorities which seemingly adopted different approaches before drawing out a distinction between them, namely by reference to establishing the commercial intentions of the parties when they cyanamic into the underlying contractual arrangement.

The respondents counterclaimed for revocation of the cyanamod. The Court of Appeal accordingly did not find it necessary to go into the questions raised by Ethicon as to the validity of the patent or to consider where the balance of convenience lay.

It would be unwise to attempt even to list all the various matters which may need to be taken into consideration in deciding where the balance lies, let alone to suggest the relative weight to be attached to them. If cyansmid in the measure recoverableat common law would be adequate remedy and the defendant would be ina financial position to pay them, no interlocutory injunction should normallybe granted, however strong the plaintiff’s claim appeared to ethicom at that stage.

Faced with this competition to catgut, Ethicon, who supplied 80 per cent.

Decision of the Court of Appeal [] F. In the first place the plaintiff should show that there is some serious need for the defendant to be restrained.

American Cyanamid principles | Practical Law

The court is not justified in embarking upon anything resembling a trial of the action upon conflicting affidavits in order to evaluate the strength of either party’s case. As to that, the governing principle is that the court should first consider whether, if the plaintiff were to succeed at the trial in establishing his right to a permanent injunction, he would be adequately compensated by an award of damages for the the loss he would have sustained as a result of the defendant’s continuing to do what was sought to be en joined between the time of the application and the time of the trial.


The notion that it is incumbent upon the court to undertake what is in effecta preliminary trial of the action upon evidential material different from thatupon which the actual trial will be conducted, is, I think, of comparativelyrecent origin, though it can be supported by references in earlier cases to theneed to show ” a probability that the plaintiff is entitled to relief ” Preston v.

Ethicon’s first contention is that the words “a polyhydroxyacetic ester” in the principal claim bear the narrower meaning only, viz. The application can be and should be refused without the court needing to form any prima facie view as to the respective rights of the parties.

It was in order to enable the existence of any such rule of law to be considered by your Lordships’ House that leave to appeal was granted.

The invention claimed by Cyanamid thus consisted of the discovery of a new use for a known substance. In the alternative, as commonly happens where the contest is between a narrower and cywnamid wider meaning in a patent specification, they attack the validity of the patent, if it bears the wider meaning, on the grounds of inutility, insufficiency, unfair basis and false suggestion.

The Court of Appeal reversed his decision on ethcion ground that no prima facie case of infringement had been made out. The essence of this invention was discovering a material which would make a satisfactory suture.

There is no suggestion that they would not be good for any damages which might be awarded against them if they lost the action eventually.