Participants and scenario

Participants and scenario

Participants and scenario

Including the judges, legal teams and witnesses, all 11 patent litigation partners and 14 of the group’s associates were involved in the proceedings*.

The process was started at the beginning of March 2014, with volunteers recruited from Bristows’ patent litigation group. Partner Alan Johnson, who created the scenario, acted as President of the Court of First Instance, and provided guidance to the parties’ witnesses so that unduly biased evidence was not created for use in the proceedings. Each legal team comprised two partners and three associates representing fictitious parties in the pharma sector litigating existing European patents and SPCs not opted out of the system. Alan provided a set of common facts and documents to both teams, but as in real life, each side was also given their own particular facts, documents and client instructions. They were also provided with potential witnesses (expert and of fact played by other partners and associates in the group), as well as other information which might colour their potential tactics.

In the scenario, the patentee initiated pre-action correspondence, threatening to bring proceedings in the London local division in May 2014 (thus allowing two months’ preparation time). Partners Philip Westmacott and Edward Nodder were ear-marked as the local judges, and member of the Paris Bar, Vanessa Rieu, was to play the part of the third (visiting) legal judge. Partner Dominic Adair was stood ready to be called in as technical judge if required.

*The proceedings were started under the 16th draft rules, and from November 2014 were under the 17th draft rules. The parties were instructed not only to plead their cases, adduce such evidence as they required (as allowed by the court), but also to keep a note of their thought processes as the litigation proceeds. In this way, the considerations which were taken into account can be captured and points on interpretation of the rules perhaps not otherwise considered could be identified. 

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