Samsung Electronics Co Ltd v (1) Apple Retail UK Ltd (2) Apple Sales International, Court of Appeal (Civil Division), 11 March 2014,  EWCA Civ 250, Moore-Bick LJ, Rimer LJ and Kitchin LJ
The Court of Appeal granted Samsung’s application to adjourn the hearing of its appeal of the decision that two of its UK (EP) patents were invalid, pending the outcome of its applications to the EPO for central amendment of the patents’ claims. The UK infringement and validity proceedings form part of a global dispute between Samsung and Apple, and Samsung explained that the timing of its applications for amendment was due to the need to coordinate the various European actions. In response to Samsung’s application to adjourn, Apple had applied, in effect, for Samsung to be ordered to elect to either abandon the appeal, or proceed with the appeal and not pursue the amendments.
The Court of Appeal held that it could not properly interfere with Samsung’s filing and pursuit of those applications, and if the UK appeal proceeded before their outcome it may be doing so on a false basis with consequential wasted costs and time, whereas there was no suggestion that an adjournment would cause Apple any significant prejudice. The Court distinguished this case from its decision in IPCom v HTC  EWCA Civ 1496. IPCom v HTC concerned the grant of a stay of UK infringement and validity proceedings pending the outcome of concurrent EPO opposition proceedings, not the outcome of amendment proceedings. Unlike opposition proceedings, central amendment proceedings (introduced by the EPC 2000) were intended to be simple and relatively quick, and their outcome in this case was likely before the UK proceedings (if not adjourned) would have been finally decided.