On 28 July 2016, the CJEU issued its decision in the preliminary referral Case C-57/15 United Video Properties. At issue was whether a provision of the Belgium Judicial Code that provides only for a flat-rate reimbursement of legal costs to the successful party was compatible with the Enforcement Directive, namely Article 14 Enforcement Directive, which reads under the heading "Legal costs":
Member States shall ensure that reasonable and proportionate legal costs and other expenses incurred by the successful party shall, as a general rule, be borne by the unsuccessful party, unless equity does not allow this.
The case is interesting because the Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court has suggested the adoption of ceilings on recoverable costs (see table below) that, at least for lower values in dispute, may not cover a significant part of the actual litigation expenses of the successful party (they may be raised by up to 50% for values in dispute below EUR 1 million, and up to 2% for values in dispute above EUR 1 million) and must in principle also cover "other expenses" linked to the litigation, such as expert fees. Now, whether and when the UPC will ever become a reality is anybody's guess - should you feel the urge to organize a conference on the topic, draw a number and get in line, please.
|Proposed recoverable costs ceilings for UPC litigation (per instance)|