Document Security Systems (DSS), the US-based company that has been attempting to enforce their European patent rights against the European Central Bank (IPKat commentary here), have apparently succeeded in defending a validity action against their EP(NL) patent, according to a press release issued today.
The ECB had launched proceedings against DSS in the Netherlands as part of their attempt to invalidate DSS's European patent relating to methods for making banknotes (among other things) more difficult to copy. Given the nature of European patents (resulting in individual national rights once granted), the ECB had also launched proceedings in other member states including France, Germany and the UK. To date, DSS have lost their patent in France and the UK (IPKat commentary here), but have had it upheld in Germany (IPKat commentary here). No court has yet found that the ECB has been infringing the patent, but DSS are still hopeful. They say:
"This is a major victory for Document Security Systems and its shareholders. This ruling, as well as our victory in Germany, substantiates the value of our intellectual property portfolio and clears the path for infringement proceedings to begin in the Netherlands. We fully believe that the ECB will appeal this decision, but we do not expect that this likely appeal will impact our ability to move forward with infringement proceedings on our timeline. Here, our focus will be on substantial monetary damages for the unauthorized use of our patented technology by not only the ECB, but printers and third parties as well, including those who print bank notes in other European countries that are used in the Netherlands. We will work closely with our legal counsel, McDermott, Will & Emery amongst others, to establish an infringement strategy to protect the rights of our shareholders".Interestingly and (to this Kat at least) quite unusually, McDermott, Will & Emery have chosen to accept DSS shares as payment for its its legal services in connection with the litigation. They must therefore have a high degree of confidence in the various legal battles still being fought eventually resulting in success. The IPKat wonders whether this confidence is still high, given DSS's share price over the past few months, which the recent news doesn't seem to have affected very much.