EPO overturns Swarovski patent

Leica Magnus 1-5_10x4201Leica says it will start supplying Magnus riflescopes to the UK “imminently” after the European Patent Office revoked a patent held by Swarovski.

The Magnus line has been unavailable in Britain ever since 2011, when Swarovski took Leica to court over apparent violations of intelelctual property rights in relation to its Z6 riflescope line.

In May 2013, the UK Patents Court ruled in favour of Swarovski, and earlier this year, the English Court of Appeal upheld Swarovski’s claim to the patent – a decision Leica said it regretted, and would challenge in the EPO.

After the latest decision, Leica said it had “won” the battle.

Leica’s sport optics director Stephen Albrecht said: “Patents are for protecting innovations and developments but should not prevent free and fair competition. Leica Camera AG has continuously stressed that the patent held by Swarovski Optik KG does not protect any specific innovation; instead it describes something already known by all manufacturers to be state-of-the-art. We are very pleased that the European Patent Office agrees with our opinion and that the sale of our products will no longer be impeded by this dispute.”

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