Beloit and Lenzing
In Beloit v Valmet (see also page 8) in the English
Court of Appeal, Beloit was the proprietor of two patents, both of
which had been opposed in the European Patent Office (EPO) and
appeals were pending on both. In an action in the Patents Court for
infringement of those two patents Jacob J had revoked them both.
The Court of Appeal confirmed the right of the
English Court to revoke a European patent (UK) even if proceedings
were pending in the EPO. However, the Patents Court should stay
English proceedings pending a final resolution of EPO proceedings
if the latter would be resolved quickly and a stay would not
inflict injustice on a party or be against the public interest - an
unlikely scenario, as the Court of Appeal recognised, given that
opposition proceedings in the EPO can take from 4 to 8 years
The Lenzing case is the mirror image of Beloit.
Lenzing's European Patent had been opposed in the EPO and revoked.
As a result the Comptroller revoked the corresponding European
Lenzing had previously started patent infringement
proceedings in the Patents Court in England and so the defendants
applied for that infringement action to be dismissed, which it was.
In parallel proceedings in the Queen's Bench Division, Lenzing
sought judicial review of the Comptroller's decision on the ground
that the UK Parliament required a European Patent (UK) to be
revoked only if revoked in accordance with the European Patent
Convention (EPC), so requiring an enquiry into such a revocation in
Both the Comptroller and the defendants in the
proceedings argued that all that was necessary was that the EPO,
acting in purported exercise of its powers under the EPC (of which
it, and not national courts, was the judge), had revoked the
The Court agreed holding that the EPO was an
international organisation and that the United Kingdom and other
states had agreed that the EPO should be the final arbiter of the
validity of European Patents. The UK Court could not look behind
the EPO's decision.