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UK – NGPOD Global Limited v. Aspirate N Go

15 Dec 2016

NGPOD Global Limited v Aspirate N Go Limited, UK, High Court (Chancery Division), Mr Justice Mann, 02 December 2016

NGPOD Global Limited brought proceedings before the UKIPO relating to the ownership of a patent and two patent applications held in the name of Aspirate N Go Limited (Aspirate). Aspirate asked the Hearing Officer at the UKIPO to decline to hear the case on the grounds that the High Court was a more appropriate venue. The Hearing Officer refused Aspirate request and Aspirate appealed against that decision.

On appeal, Mann J reviewed the Hearing Officer’s decision, in particular considering whether the Hearing Officer had, in refusing to decline jurisdiction, abused his discretion. Mann J set out the factors for Hearing Officers to consider in such applications, and ultimately reversed the Hearing Officer’s decision.

The patents were very valuable to the patentee – indeed the patentee’s business depended upon them, and in general the High Court is the more appropriate place to deal with high value matters. There were also complex issues of employment and contract law which would need to be resolved. Further, there was no indication that if this case were heard in the High Court that one of the parties would be financially in a much worse position.

With all these factors pointing to the High Court being the appropriate place, it was appropriate to reverse the Hearing Officer’s decision.

A copy of the judgment (in English) can be found here.

Headnote: Nicholas Fox, Simmons & Simmons LLP