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Staging a Multi-front Patent War

By Eugene M. Paige of Keker & Van Nest

Eugene M. Paige, a partner at Keker & Van Nest, LLP in San Francisco, focuses his practice on litigation, especially the litigation of intellectual property matters.

Although the United States may still occupy a leading position when companies are deciding where to enforce their patent rights worldwide, patentees who hold patent rights in multiple countries have started opening up different fronts in intellectual property battles by launching infringement actions in Europe as well. Here are ten things that companies considering engaging in patent litigation outside of the United States should consider before taking action.

Realize that you will not be making your case in front of a jury.

Generally speaking, the United States system of trial by jury is not used in patent litigation in other countries. In fact, many lawyers from outside the United States view jury trials in patent cases as an oddity. This means that, rather than considering the likely composition of a jury pool, companies initiating litigation may seek to learn more about the leanings and preferences of the judges or other officials who will decide the case. In the United Kingdom, for example, cases can be filed in either the Patents Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (formerly the Patents County Court). In other countries, such as Germany, there are different regional courts (known as Landgerichts) in which i...

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