WIlmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Although patent litigators should always be mindful that patent litigation has, with some justification, been called the ‘pathology of the patent system’, not so much as a criticism, but more in recognition of how remarkably little patent litigation there is in fact when seen in relation to the number of patents in force at any one time, patent litigation is also the anvil on which patent law is forged. This is because the ‘black letter’ law of patents tends to be terse by comparison to most other areas of law, and it is only with experience of how courts and tribunals interpret such law and apply it that one can start to appreciate its true scope and effect. This, in part, explains how such similarly expressed statutory provisions as one finds in different patent laws can sometimes result in such different outcomes in different jurisdictions – disparities that are all the more evident when they concern the same product or process, and patents that, though in different jurisdictions are all members of the same family, and are all intended to protect the same invention.
Such disparities can also be a consequence of the considerable procedural differences between jurisdictions, the nature of which is outlined in this Review. However, the Review does not only summarise patent litigation procedures. The respective contributors to it, as leading practitioners in each of their jurisdictions, also focus on recent developments in substantive patent law as demonstrated by the most important recent court decisions in their respective jurisdictions, meaning that this Review also provides insight into the current controversies that affect patent law generally.