International law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has won Impact Case of the Year at the EMEA Managing IP Awards 2023 for its work on landmark patent litigation case Geofabrics v FiberwebGeosynthetics, resulting in the highest ever UK court award of damages in an intellectual property dispute.

The Managing IP Awards ceremony is the most comprehensive and widely respected IP law firm awards event in the calendar, covering more than 50 jurisdictions. No nominations or entries were accepted for this special award, but rather the winning case was selected by judges from all relevant IP cases over the last year. In the winning case, WBD's IP team acted for Yorkshire rail-industry manufacturer, Geofabrics Limited, beating the odds in a 'David and Goliath' battle against Fiberweb Geosynthetics, part the US Fortune 500 group, Berry Global.

The case was unique as relatively few High Court Patent actions go to trial in England, and even fewer reach the Court of Appeal and then proceed to a full hearing of a damages enquiry. The Geofabrics v Fiberweb Geosynthetics dispute lasted five years and involved three trials with WBD's team achieving a £13.4 million award for its client along with £900,000 in costs and an injunction requiring the defendant company to remove a competing product from the market.

The WBD team acting for Geofabrics was led by Leeds-based partner and head of the firm's IP team, James Love, who accepted the award at a ceremony in London alongside managing associate Rose Smalley-Gordon.

James Love commented:

"Winning such a prestigious award for our work is a testament to the dedication of our team and the tenaciousness of our client, Geofabrics Limited. The case is one of only a modest number of patent cases that have reached this stage since the leading case of General Tire v Firestone, 50 years ago, and represents the highest UK court award of patent damages.

The result highlights the value of an intellectual property portfolio, even for smaller companies, demonstrating what patent protection can achieve. Our national IP team was able to bring this complex litigation to a satisfactory conclusion, with the High Court ruling enabling our client to remove a competing product from the market."

Winner - impact case of the year