In Celltrion v Biogen, a claim for revocation of three patents, Carr J had the opportunity to consider the Practice Statement of the Patents Court relating to timing of trials in the Patents Court, as well as Celltrion’s application that there should be a split trial.
The Patents Court statement provides that the Court will endeavour to bring patent cases on for trial where possible within 12 months of the claim being issued. In order to achieve this, parties are expected to consider potential trial dates as soon as reasonably practicable after proceedings have been served, and the Court will use its case management powers more actively. As Carr J noted, the Practice Statement represents an important change in the management of patent actions, recognising the public interest in prompt resolution of commercially important disputes (particularly where, as in pharmaceutical patent cases, there is a wider impact on the public interest), and the need for the Court to be competitive.
The Court acceded to Celltrion’s application for a split trial, with the two trials to be heard by the same judge and with a relatively short break between them, as close as possible to 30 November 2016 (just under 12 months from when the claim was issued).