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Article Date: 21st March 2014

Breathing Buildings Wins Patent Dispute

Natural Ventilation - Ventilation Systems - Passive Ventilation - Comfort Control

Breathing Shaun Fitzgerald

Breathing Buildings, the natural ventilation specialist, has successfully defended the Cambridge University Passive Stack patent, filed in 2006.

The team at Breathing Buildings has been advocating the benefits of mixing ventilation enshrined in the patent since the company’s formation as a spin out from Cambridge University in 2006. Breathing Buildings has built up a wealth of knowledge and experience in delivering and controlling these innovative solutions and is delighted that the European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld the patent.

The judgement in Munich means that in the UK and various other countries only Breathing Buildings is allowed to manufacture products which are covered by the patent.

Following the success of the e-stack natural ventilation mixing system, the parent company of Passivent filed papers with the EPO opposing the grant of the Cambridge University patent to the Passive Stack. The Breathing Buildings e-stack product range is derived from the patent, which was filed in 2006, and granted in Europe in 2012.

Passivent’s parent company filed papers at the EPO arguing that the patent should not have been granted. These papers included a written letter from Monodraught.

The hearing was held in Munich at the EPO on 11 March 2014. The Opposition Division rejected the opposition in its entirety. It found the Cambridge University patent novel and inventive. As a result, the patent was maintained in its original form and without need for amendment.

Shaun Fitzgerald, managing director of Breathing Buildings says, “When we filed the Cambridge University patent we knew we were onto a big thing. No-one had previously understood the energy savings achieved by mixing in a natural ventilation scheme. All the natural ventilation systems on the market when we filed the invention simply dumped cold air in winter, or used energy-hungry radiators to try and overcome cold draughts.”

The e-stack products have changed the natural ventilation industry since they allow natural ventilation to be used in winter and mitigate cold draughts by using the heat gains in a building, rather than requiring the use of radiators. Building designers and users have known for a long time that cold draughts or excessive heating bills in winter have been the Achilles heel of natural ventilation. It now appears that in addition to Breathing Buildings this is accepted by other manufacturers too. Breathing Buildings’ e-stack product range uses Cambridge University’s patented technology to overcome this issue, thus making it an extremely efficient and cost effective natural ventilation system.

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