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Friday, 10 December 2004

"OH WON'T YOU STAY ...?"


This comes from Sweet & Maxwell's Lawtel subscription service. Mr Justice Pumfrey handed down a decision on the staying of patent proceedings in Nokia Corporation v Interdigital Technology Corporation, decided in the Patents Court yesterday. Interdigital -- who owned three patents which Nokia was seeking to invalidate -- applied for (among other things) (i) an injunction to stop Nokia from pursuing certain applications in the US courts, (ii) a stay of UK proceedings pending the outcome of an arbitration between the parties.

Pumfrey J refused to grant either of these applications, holding as follows:

* A decision as to whether to restrain the US applications was not a mere case-management decision: Interdigital would have to show there had been abusive behaviour on Nokia's part which was prejudicial to Interdigital. On the material before the court, Interdigital could not do so.

* Under the court's case management powers, given there was no basis for a stay, a court's primary duty was to bring a case on for trial as soon as possible and not to stay it.

The IPKat is concerned that, as patent disputes become increasingly international, more and more time and effort is spent in dealing with purely jurisdictional issues rather than facing the substantive ones. Perhaps the next major initiative in the field of IP should be a comprehensive treaty covering all the issues relating to issues of choice of jurisdiction, stays etc when viewed from the perspective of IP.

More on stays here and here

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