Together with Germany, the United Kingdom and France, the Netherlands is one of the most popular European venues for patent litigation. Although the Netherlands is only a small European country of around 17 million people, the Dutch market is important for many multinationals as an entry gate to Europe from which their products are distributed to other European countries. Getting an injunction in the Netherlands could, therefore, effectively block the European distribution of an infringing product.
Another important reason why the Netherlands is considered a good venue for patent litigation is that there is a specialised patents court in The Hague, which has exclusive jurisdiction to render judgments in patent infringement and invalidity cases. Dutch patent judges are experienced, and the majority of the judges also started their careers in private practice as intellectual property lawyers. Some even have a technical background or were experienced patent litigators or patent attorneys before they moved to the bench.
This year’s patent litigation landscape was again dominated by cross-border electronics/telecoms cases. The last seven years The Netherlands has been an important venue for patent litigation proceedings in this field, which has led to important precedents from our patents court. Traditionally the majority of the patent cases have always been pharma or biotech focused, but unlike in the past many of these cases currently are settled just before judgment. It is estimated that every year around 40 to 50 patent cases are pending before the courts of The Hague, but not all actually end up in a judgement.
In recent years, the number of complicated cross-border patent cases has increased considerably. Because there is no bifurcation in the Netherlands, it is also safe to assume that in almost all of those cases, the validity of the patent or patents in suit was also disputed, which makes the judgments in those cases of higher value for other jurisdictions as well.
Read the full article that was published in the 5th edition of The Patent Litigation Law Review written by partner Wim Maas and learn all about types of patents, procedures, substantive law and appeal.
The Patent Litigation Law Review edition 5 - the Netherlands