Legal Updates

Intellectual Property Law – EU – Commercial Litigation - Patent Infringement in the UK by Defendant based in India – Service outside Jurisdiction

The case of Celem SA and Another v Alcon Electronics PVT Ltd [2006] concerned jurisdictional issues relating to patent infringement. The claimant companies were engaged in the manufacture of components for the electrical induction heating market, and were the holders of a European patent in relation to certain capacitors.

The defendant was an Indian company also engaged in the manufacture of products for the electrical induction heating market. The claimants had alleged various breaches of their UK intellectual property rights by the defendant. They argued that the manufacture of certain capacitors by the defendants infringed the UK patent. Furthermore, the claimants' particulars of claims made numerous allegations in relation to the importation and distribution of the infringing articles within the United Kingdom.

The claimants were granted permission to serve their proceedings on the defendant in India. The defendant made an application which challenged the jurisdiction of the English courts. As a result, two questions fell to be determined:

§   Whether there was a serious issue to be tried; and

§   If so, whether the court had been right to exercise its discretion in accepting jurisdiction.

The application was dismissed.

In the instant case, the documentary evidence connected to the parties had demonstrated a number of serious issues to be tried in relation to the alleged infringements occurring within the United Kingdom. In addition, given the Indian court's reluctance to entertain a claim which sought to protect UK intellectual property rights, it appeared that the only forum in which the claimants could protect those rights was the English courts.

In those circumstances, it was held that the court had been right to exercise its discretion in accepting jurisdiction.

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© RT COOPERS, 2007. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.




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