Sabaf V. Mfi Furniture
Sabaf Spa v. MFI Furniture Centres Limited and others (2004) UK HL 45. The claimant (Sabaf) brought infringement proceedings against the respondents (MFI and Meneghetti) in relation to a burner for gas hobs. It was alleged that Meneghetti, the Italian manufacturer from which MFI had purchased the hobs, had imported infringing products into the UK. Meneghetti counterclaimed that the patent was invalid for obviousness. At first it was decided that Meneghetti had imported the products but that the patent was invalid. Then, on appeal to the Court of Appeal, it was held that the patent was valid but that Meneghetti had not imported the products. In fact, Meneghetti had made the products in Italy and sold them to MFI, who had initially arranged to collect the product in Italy themselves, but who then eventually arranged to have them delivered to the UK by Meneghetti. It was decided that, apart from its participation in the acts of MFI by having sold the products to them, Meneghetti had done no acts in the UK. The importer remained MFI, not Meneghetti. Therefore, infringement had not been established.