Friday, 17 April 2009

An insight into Dutch costs

A good deal has already been said on the recent Dutch ruling in ratiopharm, Tiefenbacher and Centrafarm et al v Lundbeck (see earlier comments on the IPKat and The SPC Blog here and here). In this decision the Hague District Court, ruling on the validity of Lundbeck’s escitalopram patent (EP 066), held that all the claims were invalid for lack of inventive step. Now, courtesy of Daan de Lange (Brinkhof), PatLit has obtained a full English translation of the decision.

For obvious reasons the cost of patent litigation varies considerably between different European forums and there is no stable and predictable scale by which they can be confidently measured and compared against one another.  This does not stop litigants asking where litigation might cost them less, though.  The paragraph reproduced below, however, serves to give some guidance concerning what started out as three separate actions which came before the preliminary relief judge in April, May and June 2008 respectively, but which eventually coalesced:
"The costs of the proceedings on the part of Tiefenbacher and Centrafarm, fixed at €276,357.97 are not disputed. These will be allocated to the parties in equal shares. Lundbeck has disputed that the attorney’s fees presented by Ratiopharm in the amount of €427,346.58 are to be deemed 'reasonable and balanced'. The court shares Lundbeck's opinion that these costs, in comparison with the attorney’s fees claimed by Lundbeck and Tiefenbacher/Centrafarm (€291,691 and €126,155.80 respectively) appear to be too high and are not justified by the circumstance that it, contrary to the other parties, was not involved in foreign litigation. It has not appeared, after all, that the Dutch attorneys of the other parties were involved in such litigation, while moreover these proceedings included other experts and, in part, other positions than was the case in those foreign proceedings. The court will reasonably fix the attorney’s fees of Ratiopharm at an amount of €290,000, equal to the amount in attorney’s fees claimed by Lundbeck. The costs of patent attorneys and experts of Ratiopharm of €141,186.72 are not disputed and will therefore be awarded as claimed, so that of the costs claimed by Ratiopharm a total amount of €431,186.72 is eligible for allocation. As no independent arguments were presented in the counterclaim, all costs will be allocated under the principal action".
PatLit is curious to hear from its readers, in the light of experiences in their own jurisdictions, whether the Dutch award would rank as a bargain buy, a fair figure or an expensive deal in comparison.

No comments: