back to article Patent damages not refunded if EPO cancels patent

Damages for patent infringement awarded by a UK court must not be paid back even if the patent is later declared invalid by the European Patent Office (EPO), the Court of Appeal has ruled. The court was addressing the question of which body has the final say in a patent case, a UK court or the EPO. It ruled that when the UK …


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  1. Richard Simpson

    Just a statement of what we all know anyway.

    So far as I can see, all the judge is saying is that it is OK for the legal system to be unjust, so long as that is good for business.

    Surely it has been painfully obvious for years that this is their opinion, its just that judges and politicians don't normally come right out and say so.

  2. William Donelson

    Baloney - another crap ruling by the courts

    Complete baloney.

    If a mistake (wrongful issue of patent) has been made, ALL monies should be returned. FULL STOP.

    THEN there'd be more pressure for Higher Quality of patents, if the patent holder knew he was liable for bullshit patents.

  3. Tim Wesson

    Justice and Intent

    Richard Simpson's comment misses something important: patent law is primarily of interest to business, or (more generally) to economic agents. It would be unjust to make a matter of simple arbitration long-winded, for that makes it impossible for such agents to plan.

    Surely such law should be resolved in the interests of business, unless there's a clear public interest otherwise. It is worth remembering that the lone inventor is also protected in that the decision, if made in his favour, cannot be overturned by the EPO.

    Europe is pro big business; more so than Britain. If you doubt this, look to who gains the most from the Common Agricultural Policy. Further, the EPO have been lobbying strongly for software patents to be valid, whereas a British court has ruled that they are not.

    This decision helps the small guy. The judge's reasoning was about business interest in speedy resolution, not about big business interest. Speedy resolution favours the small guy, as larger business cannot simply cause court costs to hemorrhage.

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  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As even the law is fond of telling us, the law is an ass

    Wouldn't it make much MORE sense for the court to delay issuing its findings in the case where a patent is being challenged until AFTER the EPO has ruled on the validity of the payment?

    This way, the court is clearing the way for companies to patent the trivial and obvious as a sure-fire way of making money out of it despite an obvious lack of merit, provided they can get the case fast-tracked through court before anybody else has time to prove that the case has no merit.

    When the law is an ass, the law needs changing not silly statements like this.

  6. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    The report is missing some vital details ...

    .. but we can guess that the defendants asked for, but were not given, a delay in the patent infingment case pending the outcome of the EPO re-examination. This decision in itself must be seen to be a crock of s**t !

    As it is, it sounds like :

    B&Q: But we believe the patent is invalid and have begun proceedings to have it cancelled.

    Judge: No delay, you will have to pay the damages.

    EPO: yes the patent is invalid.

    B&Q: So, just like we said, the patent is invalid.

    Appeal Judge: But tough - we wouldn't allow the case to be held over pending this decision and we won't order a repayment of the money.

    If this was a commercial transaction it would be seen for the scam that it is, this is very bad ruling.

    Now, had the defendants NOT been challenging the petent when the original case was going though court then I'd agree with this "non repayment" position. But as it is it sounds like the original court refused to wait for the decision and now the system is held up for the laughing stock that it is.

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