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Important change in Belgian patent litigation (2): Belgian Judges must take into account foreign judgments and cannot merely rely upon the suspensive effect of an appeal against an invalidity decision

As already described in a previous blog entry the Belgian Supreme Court nullified a decision of the Antwerp Court of Appeal granting a descriptive seizure (“beschrijvend beslag”; “saisie-description”) on the presumption of validity of (European) patents.  The written decision of the Supreme Court is now available (link).  The Supreme Court has followed the advice of the Advocate-General in his Opinion of 6 June 2014, although its judgment does not deal with all arguments developed by the Advocate-General (link). 

To understand the reasoning of the Supreme Court, it should be noted that the descriptive seizure was based on a European patent and a related French patent.  The UK pa [...]

Important change in Belgian patent litigation: The Belgian Supreme Court adopts a less strict approach to the prima facie validity of a European Patent

 1.         Introduction

Preliminary injunction (“PI”) and seizure proceedings are powerful weapons in the hands of patentees in Belgium. Often, the success of a product launch and the outcome of a patent dispute will in practice be determined by a PI or seizure that prevents or ceases market entry by the alleged infringer. 

In the context of such proceedings, Belgian courts asses the parties’ rights and claims on a prima facie (first sight) basis.  As a result, they have tended to refuse to take patent invalidity arguments into account on the basis that European patents are prima facie valid given the substantive examination by the European Patent Office (“EPO”). In t [...]

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arguments are not taken into account given the presumption of validity of a European patent, even if the patent has been revoked in EPO opposition proceedings or if there are foreign decisions invalidating the parallel national pat­ents.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 [...]

Germany: Anthocyanverbinding, Federal Court of Justice 10 December 2013

The FCJ held that legal provisions in force at the priority date must be taken into consideration when assessing novelty and inventive step of an invention. These legal provisions may incite the skilled person to work in a certain direction so that this makes the invention obvious.

The full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

The Court of Turin on the patentability of software

By ruling of 21 February 2014, the Court of Turin decided a case between the US corporation Rovi and a number of Italian consumers electronics manufacturers. These had produced / imported set-top-boxes equipped with Electronic Programme Guides (EPG) that allegedly made use of the Rovi EPG patents, although without being covered by the Rovi licensing scheme. The Turin Court ruling is interesting as it tackles – one of the very few in the Italian case law – the issue of software patentability, reaching conclusions opposite to those of the UK courts in the Rovi versus Virgin Media saga.

The case had commenced with the filing by the Italian manufacturers of a nullity action against patents [...]

Norway: Liquid Seal Pump, District Court Oslo, 27 January 2014

The Oslo District Court held that Jets AS’ patent for a liquid seal pump of the helical screw type for use in vacuum drainage systems lacked novelty over one of Jets’ own patents. Despite the court’s finding on invalidity, the court did not consider Jets warning letter to a customer of its competitor, Evac Oy, in conflict with good business practice among traders pursuant to §25 of the Norwegian Marketing Control Act.

The full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

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