The Recast Brussels Regulation: Irish Proceedings Stayed Pending Outcome of Dispute in Germany
The High Court granted a stay in an Irish patent licensing dispute pending the outcome of a related dispute in Germany


The High Court, in proceedings brought by Vodafone GMBH ("Vodafone") against a Dublin based company IV International Licensing ("IVIL") and a US based company Intellectual Ventures II ("IV II") challenging the validity of the terms of an offer of a licence to use certain patents, declined to refuse jurisdiction in favour of related proceedings before the German Courts. However, it granted a stay of the Irish proceedings, in circumstances where the final judgment of the German Courts is expected later this year and will make clear many of the issues contained in the Irish proceedings. 

Vodafone alleged, inter alia, that terms offered by IVIL to license for use certain patents in Germany was not an offer on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms ("FRAND") and that the process followed in relation to this offer amounted to an abuse of its dominant position by the Defendants.  The Defendants sought to challenge the jurisdiction of the Irish Courts and in the alternative sought a stay of the proceedings. The Defendants contended that the purpose of the Irish proceedings was to frustrate the ongoing patent infringement litigation in Germany. Vodafone in response suggested that the German Proceedings were being used as a ‘torpedo’ in the context of the Irish proceedings. 

The Irish Court refused to grant orders declining jurisdiction pursuant to Article 29(3) and 30 (2) of the Recast Brussels Regulation, but granted a stay of the proceedings pursuant to Art 30(1) of the Recast Brussels Regulation. Additionally, the Court found that the common law doctrine of 'forum non conveniens' is inapplicable where there is a 'Recast Brussels Regulation' defendant in any given case. 

Contributed by: Charleen O'Keeffe

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