With decision dated June 10, 2013, the Italian Supreme Court asserted Italian jurisdiction over a request for a declaration of patent non-infringement of both an Italian and German portion of a European patent, within a proceeding started in Italy by a German company against two US defendants.
The two defendants objected that the Court of Rome lacked of jurisdiction on the grounds that i) there was no link between the proceeding and the Italian territory and ii) national courts are unable to rule over the infringement of a foreign patent.
The Italian Supreme Court instead asserted Italian jurisdiction in the case, leveraging ECJ decision C-133/11, which stated that requests for declaration of patent non-infringement fall within the scope of article 5(3) of Regulation No. 44/2001 and of the same article of the Bruxelles Convention (conferring jurisdiction to the courts of the place where the harmful event occurred).
With this decision, the Italian Supreme Court has revived the “Torpedo actions”, where, usually, non-Italian defendants are sued in non-infringement patent proceedings in Italy, in order to prevent patent infringement actions in faster EU courts.