Patent litigation is often conducted in multiple jurisdictions and in multiple countries. As the outcome of the first lawsuit may have a substantial or even decisive impact on subsequent litigation elsewhere, an early win can be crucial.
For this reason, so-called first-strike strategies are developed by multinational companies to enhance their chances of success in securing and defending patent rights. Findings from Finnegan’s Global IP Project as published in the September 2010 issue of Managing Intellectual Property, reveal that the Netherlands are the most patentee-friendly forum.
The Global IP Project was started in 2001, when law firms in 30 countries decided to share information about first-instance patent infringement dispositions in their respective countries. This resulted in an enormous amount of information on win rates, on the basis of which it can easily be established which countries and which courts yield the most favorable patentee win rates or first-instance patent infringement decisions. The figure below illustrates that in the period 1997-2009, the Netherlands ranked ninth on the list of countries with IP litigation in first instance. More importantly, however, it shows that the Netherlands is very patent-friendly. As it is, more than 40% of the patent infringement cases filed in the Netherlands have been decided in favor of the patentee.
Although the above goes a long way to explain the relatively high number of patent litigation filings and patentee wins in the Netherlands, there are many other arguments for opting the Netherlands as a nation to start worldwide litigation. Particularly the high level of expertise of the Dutch courts and the relatively low litigation cost make litigation in the Netherlands attractive to patent holders. In addition, there is the favorable patent climate in the Netherlands, whichs shows from the IP density (IP firms, institutions and authorities), the innovation-geared economy and the influential role the Netherlands have played and are still playing with respect to European patents. These aspects will no doubt also have contributed to VEREENIGDE”s ranking among the world’s top PCT filing firms.
Note: With kind permission from Michael Elmer (Finnegan), the information and figure are based on, respectively derived from the article “Where to win: patent-friendly courts revealed”, by Michael Elmer and Stacy Lewis, in Managing Intellectual Property, issue September 2010.