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Patent Litigation in Europe

By Simon Cohen and Nigel Stoate of Taylor Wessing LLP

Authors Simon Cohen and Nigel Stoate are partners in the Intellectual Property Department at European business law firm Taylor Wessing LLP, based in their London office.

European Patent Office

There is no doubt that the European Patent Office (‘EPO’) has simplified the patent grant process in Europe – a single application to the EPO leads to a single examination process, which if successful, results in the granting of a bundle of national patents in one or more of the EPC- contracting states, including all 27 European Union members as well as, amongst others, Switzerland and Turkey.

However, there is no such thing as a Europe-wide patent and on grant, the European patent becomes a bundle of national patents depending on which countries have been designated in the EPO application. Being national patents, the rights conferred by them must be enforced nationally and therein lies the problem – the patentee faces the prospect of litigating in numerous jurisdictions, each with its own procedures and characteristics. Similarly, a party seeking to challenge a patent subsisting in more than one member state has a choice of which jurisdictions to litigate in and in what order.

Plurality of proceedings around Europe

Historically one solution to this potential plurality of proceeding was the grant. However, two ECJ decisions in 2006, GAT v LUK To view the complete article you must be logged in
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