In the case of Dien Ghin Electronic (S) Pte Ltd v Khek Tai Ting (trading as Soon Heng Digitax) [2011] SGHC 36, the Plaintiff imported and supplied systems for displaying messages on panels of multicoloured LEDS mounted on the rooftop of taxis. The Defendant was the proprietor of Singapore Patent No. 89354 (the “Patent”) which relates to “a transportation status display system”.

It was undisputed that the independent claims of the Patent contain the following five essential integers:

  1. a multicoloured display mountable on a transportation means for displaying multicoloured visual information;
  2. a display controller for controlling the multicoloured display;
  3. a logic controller for providing logic control in relation to the display of multicoloured visual information dependent on the information regarding the status of the transportation means;
  4. a communication means for communicating information regarding the status of the transportation means between the logic controller and a remote information source; and
  5. a remote control centre for monitoring and controlling the movement of transportation means.  

The Plaintiff commenced the present suit seeking, inter alia, revocation of the Patent under Section 78, read with Sections 80 and 82, of the Patents Act. The Plaintiff claimed that the Patent did not sufficiently disclose the invention and that it lacked novelty and inventive step.

The Court found that there was insufficient disclosure as the Patent specification did not enable a person skilled in the art to arrive at the invention described by the Patent.

Justice Chan also found that at least two earlier publications anticipated the Defendant’s invention as they contained teachings that messages sent by a remote control centre via a communication means may be displayed by an electronic display – in the form of LED display panel or a LCD screen – mounted on buses, and a person skilled in the art would have cognisance of the availability of multicoloured LED and LCD displays on the market at the time of the publications of the prior art.

It was further held that the Defendant’s invention lacks inventive step as a notional person skilled in the art does not require much imagination to connect the remote control centre using a communication means with the multicoloured LED display panel on the rooftop of a taxi and the mobile display terminal in the taxi, as opposed to a bus, for the purpose of displaying information in relation to the taxi’s hiring status and for monitoring and controlling the movement of the taxi.

The Patent was accordingly revoked.