Concurrent patent proceedings: to stay or not to stay?

The issue before the Court of Appeal in IPCom GmbH & Co Ltd v HTC Europe Ltd and others was the approach to be taken by national courts in patent proceedings where the validity of the same patent was also being considered at the European Patent Office.

EPO decisions take precedence over national decisions where the two conflict. National proceedings are often completed before EPO proceedings. Where this happens, and the EPO decision is at odds with the earlier national decision, the national decision is undermined — defeating the purpose of the proceedings. Logically, therefore, staying the national proceedings pending the EPO decision makes sense — save that EPO proceedings can be very long, and parties will often not have the luxury of time to play with…

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