US judge questions illegality of seeking an injunction

By Helen Hopson

Following on from Osman’s recent post ‘The FRAND debate: is the tide turning?’, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commissioner Wright’s viewpoint has recently been echoed by Paul Michel, a former chief judge of the US’s top patent court (the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit). He questioned at a recent US conference how it could possibly be illegal merely to seek an injunction (whether for an SEP or non-SEP). Michel has spoken out previously against restricting the ability of patent holders to enforce their patents (in the context of the US anti-troll legislation currently underfoot) asserting that such developments will weaken the patent system, not strengthen it.

I agree with Osman that it is odd that such comments are being made on the other side of the Atlantic so late in the day. Many in Europe have been making similar statements since the EU Commission opened its investigation into Samsung in January 2012. For example, in mid-2013 Sir Robin Jacob, a former judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, speaking at a UK conference, equated the EU Commission’s current enforcement activities to ‘standing outside a court door with a gun threatening people who want to go inside’ suggesting that the commission ‘is saying it is above and better than the courts’…

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