Thursday, 16 June 2011

Summary judgment and costs: come back and argue, says judge

Sitting in the Patents Court for England and Wales this morning, Mr Justice Floyd gave judgment in Nokia Oyj (Nokia Corporation) v IPCom GmbH & Co Kg [2011] EWHC 1470 (Pat), a fairly long decision but one which was driven mainly by factual issues and the submissions of the parties rather than the need to indulge in quantities of deep and anguishedly meaningful legal analysis. In any event -- in a judgment which will make PCC Page author Alasdair Poore happy because it contains the word "tentacles" -- Floyd J found IPCom's patents valid and infringed in respect of two of Nokia's devices but not a third in respect of which he agreed to grant a declaration of non-infringement.

What caught this blogger's eye was a little paragraph at the end of the decision:
"213 Technically I also have before me the summary judgment application. It makes no sense to grant summary judgment at the same time as judgment. The only point about the summary judgment application is who should bear the costs of the application. That will turn on whether it was ever likely to succeed. In adjourning the application to the trial, Kitchin J said that the trial judge would be in a better position to decide the costs of that application after he has decided the substantive issues. I propose to hear argument on this issue of costs, along, no doubt with other issues, after judgment has been handed down."
In a sizeabke (eight day) trial such as this, with two amply-endowed parties, it won't matter, but it does seem a little disappointing that, while the function of an application for summary judgment is to save time in court, the need for further argument on costs issue which hangs over from the application means that there will still be a bit stuff more to sort out after the main issues have been resolved.

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