Court of Appeal stays appeal proceedings pending outcome of central amendment applications to the EPO

By Laura von Hertzen

On 11 March 2014, in a patent action between Samsung and Apple, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales granted Samsung an application to adjourn an appeal from the High Court’s decision that two of Samsung’s patents were invalid, pending the outcome of its application to the European Patent Office (EPO) for central amendment of the patents’ claims.

The court rejected Apple’s counter application for an order that in effect required Samsung to elect between pursuing the appeal or the central amendment applications. The court held that the Patents Act 1977 specifically contemplated the possibility of concurrent proceedings in the UK and in the EPO. Save where EPO opposition proceedings were pending, there was no prohibition on the filing and pursuing of central amendment applications while infringement and revocation proceedings were under way in any designated state. Consequently, the filing and pursuit by Samsung of its central amendment application was not an abuse of process…

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