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To suspend or not to suspend – Bundesgerichtshof on bifurcation

by Hetti Hilge

In two recent and surprising decisions the Bundesgerichtshof (German Federal Court of Justice) clarified the effects of a first instance decision nullifying the patent in suit on the enforcement of a parallel infringement finding (including an injunction) and, upon second review, remedied what it considers an unintended oversight by the legislator (“Planwidrige Regelungslücke”) in the specific circumstances of patent litigation and bifurcation. Effectively “overruling” its own previous decision in the very same case (Microsoft vs Motorola), the court now ordered the temporary suspension of the enforcement of an appeal court judgment finding for infringement, against t [...]

What happened to/in Summer 2014 in the Netherlands?

Before diving into this year’s Oktoberfest with the Munich IP community, colleague contributor Thorsten Bausch summarized the German Federal Court of Justice’s case law of Summer 2014. As the days of raising beer mugs and polka dancing come to an end in Munich, so does the Dutch Summer (finally). Time for an overview of what occupied the Dutch Courts these past months.

As in Germany, the doctrine of equivalence was considered by the Hague District Court. In the MBI/Shimano case the District Court applied the Dutch Supreme Court’s Medinol/Abbott findings on equivalence of a few months earlier (on stent litigation which meandered through Europe for years).

In Medinol/Abbott the Supreme C [...]

Limitation of the reach of a preliminary injunction and no absolute application of the prima facie validity of a patent

PI proceedings have always been a powerful weapon for patentees in Belgium.  In such proceedings before the President of the Commercial Court a full legal analysis of the parties’ rights cannot be made. The President will only prima facie asses the parties’ rights and claims. As a result, invalidity arguments are not taken into account given the presumption of validity of a European patent, even if the patent has been revoked in EPO opposition proceedings or if there are foreign decisions invalidating the parallel national pat­ents. 

In the Belgian escitalopram-litigation Lundbeck was able to obtain a PI under its escitalopram SPC despite the fact that an earlier first instance deci [...]

The wording of Prayers for Relief: A complicated Swiss affair

The wording of prayers for relief in patent infringement proceedings remains a hotly debated issue in Switzerland. In a landmark decision dated 2004 (BGE 131 III 70) the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that the patent infringing goods or procedures had to be exactly described in the prayers of relief of a cease-and-desist order. Since then, it has not been sufficient to simply repeat the wording of the claim of the allegedly infringed patent. In particular, this holds true if the interpretation of the claim features is highly controversial between the parties. The authorities that are in charge of the enforcement of an injunction cannot be expected to reassess the meaning of the patent cla [...]

No Mercy: Exhaustion of patent rights and burden of proof

The use and circulation of a product which has been put on the market by the patentee or a third party acting with the consent of the patentee (e.g. a licensee) cannot be prohibited by the patentee anymore. This concept of exhaustion is not only applicable to the territory of Germany, but to the entire territory of the EU and EEA, i.e. the common European market. This Europe wide exhaustion of patent rights is the basis for parallel imports, in particular for parallel imports of pharmaceuticals and plant protection products.

Being a defense, the burden of prove showing that the product has been put onto the market by the patentee or a licensee lies with the defendant. However, applying this [...]

There’s Life in the Old Dog Yet – Ex Parte Injunctions in Switzerland

Ex parte measures are rather difficult to obtain in patent matters in Switzerland (except from evidence-protection measures). Nevertheless, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court had the opportunity to opine on this subject in a recent decision dated 21 August 2013. Although this case will become better known because it was the first time that the first instance, the Swiss Federal Patent Court, had to deal with the doctrine of equivalence (and affirmed an infringement by equivalent means, see the preliminary decision of the Federal Patent Court here), it is also worth to analyze the requirements of ex parte measures in Switzerland.

In the case at hand, the patentee was informed in December 2012 by [...]

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