UPC Court of Appeal Allows Request for Additional Written Pleadings

In an order dated 17 June 2024, the Unified Patent Court's Court of Appeal has granted Volkswagen AG the right to submit additional written pleadings in the ongoing appeal against Network System Technologies LLC (NST). This order shows the adaptability of the Court of Appeal when it comes to procedural rules.

Background of the Case

Volkswagen had previously requested the Court of First Instance to require NST to provide security for the legal costs in a patent litigation concerning EP 1 552 399. The request was denied, prompting Volkswagen to appeal, arguing that the First Instance court had applied erroneous legal standards and misinterpreted facts. As the appeal progressed, Volkswagen felt compelled to correct certain factual assertions made by NST, which it believed were misleading and pertinent to the court’s understanding of the case.

The Rationale

The Court of Appeal’s decision to allow additional written pleadings is rooted in R.36 of the Rules of Procedure (RoP), which permits such submissions if they are sufficiently reasoned and made before the closure of the written procedure. The court found that Volkswagen's submission met these criteria, particularly emphasizing the need for factual accuracy in the proceedings.
The Court of Appeal also referenced R.239.1 RoP, asserting that interim procedural rules (Rules 101-110 RoP) are applicable mutatis mutandis in appeal proceedings, thereby also validating the use of Rules 35 and 36 RoP in this context. This interpretation ensures a thorough and fair examination of all aspects of the case by allowing parties to correct or add crucial information that could influence the outcome.

Key takeaways

  • The decision highlights the CoA's commitment to flexibility in procedural matters, ensuring that justice is served by allowing parties to fully represent their positions through additional factual clarifications if necessary.
  • By allowing additional submissions, the Court of Appeal is upholding the integrity of the judicial process, ensuring that decisions are made based on the most accurate and complete information available.
  • The order also illustrates the balance the court seeks to maintain between procedural efficiency and the rights of the parties to a fair trial.