Abuse of process is all the rage these days. Only a few short hours ago the IPKat was reflecting as to whether an appeal by a successful party in trade mark opposition proceedings against a decision in which he was actually victorious might constitute an abuse of process and now, in Ashley Wilde Group Ltd v Kocak and others, a decision in the Chancery Division (England and Wales) from John Baldwin QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court judge, abuse issues are raised in copyright infringement proceedings (note: this decision is not available on BAILII, but was conveniently summarised by Lawtel, to which subscribers may turn if they wish to order the full text).
In these proceedings the second and third defendants applied (i) to set aside an order which struck out their earlier application to challenge the court's jurisdiction to hear a claim against them and (ii) to set aside an order that they be liable for costs incurred in separate proceedings.
John Baldwin QC dismissed the applications. In his view
* Res judicata was no defence where neither party was relying on a decision on the merits in the original action. The defendants might just have got some help from res judicata if W had lost in the first action, but that was not the case.* There was nothing to support the contention that this was vexatious litigation.* The requirement that a claimant bring all its claims arising out of the same incident against a defendant at once did not mean that a claimant could not sue other parties who might have been involved in the same tort but who were not parties to the earlier litigation.* There were insufficient details from which it could be shown that the defendants had a real prospect of successfully defending the costs order and the court was not satisfied that things would have turned out any differently if the defendants had been parties to the first action.