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Enforcement through the courts

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

Cyprus courts have no more than average expertise on patent issues due to the limited number of patent cases filed. Therefore,  rights holders should produce evidence at trial with expert witnesses.

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

First-instance patent cases are tried by one Supreme Court judge.

What role can and do expert witnesses play in proceedings?

Expert witnesses may assist the courts in matters which require specific knowledge and expertise.

Does your jurisdiction apply a doctrine of equivalents and, if so, how?

Under the Patents Law, a patentee may raise an infringement claim regarding an accused product or process which is the subject matter of the patent.

Is it possible to obtain preliminary injunctions? If so, under what circumstances?

If the owner of the patent proves that infringement has been committed or is being committed, the court may award damages, grant a prohibitory injunction prohibiting further infringement and award any other remedies provided by law.

The court that decides that infringement has occurred can order the infringer not to repeat the violation. Failure to comply is punishable by a fine of up to €59,850, imprisonment for up to three years or both.

If a rights holder proves that infringement is likely to occur, the court may grant a temporary injunction prohibiting the infringement and award any other remedy provided for by law.

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

In infringement proceedings, the defendant may request the invalidation of the patent. Where an action is based on infringement of a European patent, the court may suspend the proceedings until the period for filing an opposition has expired where no opposition has been filed or, if an opposition has been filed, until a final decision on the opposition has been made.

Will courts consider decisions in cases involving similar issues from other jurisdictions?

The Cyprus courts may consider decisions from the European Court of Justice involving similar issues.

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

Yes – the successful party may obtain an order for the legal costs adjudged in its favour, according to the scale of legal costs approved by the Cyprus Supreme Court.

What are the typical remedies granted to a successful plaintiff?

The court may award damages, grant an injunction to prevent further infringement or grant any other remedy which it deems appropriate (eg, an order to destroy the infringing material). 

How are damages awards calculated? Are punitive damages available?

Awards are calculated based on the evidence submitted to the court. Although the courts can award punitive damages, they rarely do so.

How common is it for courts to grant permanent injunctions to successful plaintiffs and under what circumstances will they do this?

The courts may grant a permanent injunction to a successful plaintiff where the damage sustained is irreparable and a damages award would not provide effective redress. 

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 decisions can take two or three years; however, a determined defendant can delay proceedings beyond this timeframe. The Civil Procedure Rules provide no option for expedited trials. An aggrieved party may seek injunctive relief pending the trial in order to safeguard against irreparable damage.

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

Costs vary depending on the amounts involved and the complexity of the case. Therefore, it is difficult to predict costs in any meaningful way. By international standards, legal costs in Cyprus are modest.

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