0370 270 6000

Patents Court paves the way for greater transparency in patent licensing

1 May 2015

The Patents Court has made an order for pre-action disclosure of patent licences. This is a significant decision which could have broad implications for the patent licensing market.

Ticketogo sent the Big Bus Company letters claiming infringement and offering a licence of its patent, repeatedly referring to similar licences that a number of Big Bus’s competitors had entered into. Big Bus applied for pre-action disclosure of these licences, purportedly to enable it to ascertain the value of Ticketogo’s claim for patent infringement.

The court held that the requirements for pre-action disclosure at CPR 31.16 were fulfilled. Importantly, it found that, although in intellectual property cases disclosure regarding quantum was often delayed until after a decision on liability, the rule was not set in stone.

In considering whether or not pre-action disclosure should be ordered, Mr Justice Arnold stated that he considered that “transparency is a virtue” and further, that the “Availability of price information is one of the key requirements for the proper functioning of any market, and I see no reason why the market for patent licences should be an exception”.

Of course, that is not the way the patent licence market has operated to date. As such, this decision may pave the way for further applications for disclosure of patent licences, creating transparency in a previously opaque marketplace and necessitating a change patent licensors’ business models.

Related opinions

Cameras in convenience stores: a potential hornet’s nest..?

A convenience retailer has opted to install cameras (the “Facewatch” system) at a limited number of its English stores to reduce crime and protect its staff.

View blog

Covid Rent Arrears: Cinema operators’ appeals dismissed

The Court of Appeal has dismissed two cases regarding rent arrears accrued during the Covid lockdowns. The cases are London Trocadero (2015) LLP v Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd and Bank of New York Mellon (International) Ltd v Cine-UK Ltd.

View blog

80% hours for 100% pay? That’ll do nicely

As has been widely reported this week, some 3,000 UK workers are taking part in a six month trial to assess the viability of a four-day working week without any reduction in their normal pay.

View blog

Right to Work Checks: Changes from 6 April 2022

From 6 April 2022, right to work checks on all migrant or settled prospective employees must be online and checks on British or Irish nationals will be manual (free) or digital (charged for).

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up