Rapid Reaction – Analysis of the first ever permanent injunction at the UPC as the Düsseldorf Local Division issues a final decision

03.07.2024

In a decision issued today, the Düsseldorf Local Division has ordered the first-ever permanent injunction at the UPC following a hearing on 16 May 2024. The injunction covers seven UPC member states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. Notably, Germany was not included in the claim.

The patent in question in this case is Franz Kaldewei’s EP 3375337 for a “Bathtub Sanitation Device”, with the UPC having jurisdiction over this classical European Patent during the transitional period.

This was one of the first infringement cases filed when the UPC opened its doors on 1 June 2023. It is impressive that the Court has managed to keep to its goal of issuing a final or “merits” decision within approximately a year of proceedings being issued. In pursuit of that goal in this case, the Court rejected a request by the defendant for a retrospective extension of a deadline to submit documents, citing proper preparation for the oral hearing in its reasoning. The ability to obtain fast relief and a wide-ranging injunction will be attractive to potential claimants but we will have to wait and see if the UPC can maintain this level of efficiency as the caseload continues to build.

In this final decision, the Court found that the patent was invalid in its granted form due to obviousness, but upheld an auxiliary request as valid. It is on the basis of this auxiliary request that the injunction has been ordered. In its reasoning, the Court appears to follow a rather EPO-style approach to validity (discussed in more detail below) and whilst this may be an indication of the direction the UPC will take in assessing validity, only the outcome of any appeals will begin to give true clarity on the correct tests to be applied.

The Court also rejected a prior use defence from Bette, interpreting this provision rather narrowly.

Please note that quotes from this decision are based on an English machine translation of the official German language decision, so their accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

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Eden Winlow

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