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Enforcement through the courts

At trial
What level of expertise can a patent owner expect from the courts?

The courts have little experience in relation to patent issues; thus, it is advisable to initiate administrative procedures before the National IP Service, rather than seek court remedies.

Are cases decided by one judge, a panel of judges or a jury?

Cases are decided by a panel of judges and a jury.

If jury trials do exist, what is the process for deciding whether a case should be put to a jury?

Trial juries exist only for criminal proceedings. No juries are available for oppositions or invalidation actions.

What role can and do expert witnesses play in proceedings?

Expert witnesses can be used to verify the state of the art.

How are issues around infringement and validity treated in your jurisdiction?

Anyone found guilty of reproducing, plagiarising, distributing, publishing or broadcasting (in whole or in part) a literary, artistic, musical, scientific or cinematic work for profit and without the consent of the rights holder or its licensee will be imprisoned for a term of between three months and two years and be subject to 60 days’ forced labour.

The same penalty applies to anyone found guilty of transforming, interpreting or performing protected works, or importing, exporting or storing copies of a protected work without authorisation from the rights holder or its licensees.

Anyone found guilty of infringement or violating privilege will be imprisoned for a period of between three months and two years and be subject to between 30 and 60 days’ hard labour. Violations include making unauthorised deals for products covered by privilege or using methods or processes that are protected. 

Damages and remedies
Can the successful party obtain costs from the losing party?

A successful party can obtain costs from the losing party if the administrative authority initiates the process by way of civil proceedings. 

What are the typical remedies granted to a successful plaintiff?

Typical remedies granted to a successful plaintiff include an order to suspend the infringer’s use of the patent. In addition, plaintiffs can sign an agreement (administrative proceedings), after which civil proceedings for damages can begin.

In criminal proceedings, a prison sentence between three months and two years can be imposed.

How are damages awards calculated? Are punitive damages available?

Damages are calculated in civil proceedings. Awards will be based on the damages incurred by the plaintiff and can include compensation. 

Timescale and costs
How long does it take to obtain a decision at first instance and is it possible to expedite this process?

First-instance criminal decisions can take up to five years.            

First-instance administrative decisions can take up to three years.

Procedural deadlines must be followed.

How much should a litigant plan to pay to take a case through to a first-instance decision?

In administrative proceedings, litigants should plan to pay around $2,000 to bring the case through to a first-instance decision.

In criminal cases, litigants should plan to pay around $5,000 to bring the case through to a first-instance decision.

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