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Arbitrability regarding patent law - an international study

Jansson, Therese LU (2010) JURM01 20101
Department of Law
Abstract
Which subject matters are inappropriate for submission to arbitration and should instead be decided by a court of law? Subject matter arbitrability answers this question. What is included in the scope of inarbitrability is decided by the each single country.

Subject matter arbitrability has influence on the parties’ freedom of contact by defining which issues the disputing parties may freely empower an arbitral tribunal to rule over. The parties lack authority to submit subject matters, which fall outside the scope of arbitrability; these issues have to be settled by national courts.

Patent law is an interesting subject matter since patent issues may be treated in four different ways. The most restricted approach does not permit... (More)
Which subject matters are inappropriate for submission to arbitration and should instead be decided by a court of law? Subject matter arbitrability answers this question. What is included in the scope of inarbitrability is decided by the each single country.

Subject matter arbitrability has influence on the parties’ freedom of contact by defining which issues the disputing parties may freely empower an arbitral tribunal to rule over. The parties lack authority to submit subject matters, which fall outside the scope of arbitrability; these issues have to be settled by national courts.

Patent law is an interesting subject matter since patent issues may be treated in four different ways. The most restricted approach does not permit any patent issues, neither infringement nor validity questions, to be arbitrated. The second approach divides private related issues from public ones, thus allowing the issue of infringement to be submitted to arbitration while the issue of validity is regarded as inarbitrable. Regarding the third approach, all patent issues fall within the scope of the subject matter arbitrability. However, the arbitral award may only be valid between the disputing parties. Thus, the patent will remain in the public patent register and valid in relation to all third parties, even after an award has invalidated the patent. The fourth and most liberal approach is similar to the third one, but it allows the rendered award to be valid against everyone.

This variety and the major differences between the approaches makes the issue of governing law of the question of arbitrability of importance for the parties. If the applied law favors the first, most restricted approach, then the parties’ arbitration agreement will be considered invalid and the patent has to be scrutinized in national court proceedings. However, if the second most restricted approach is applicable because of the governing law, the parties might have to endure parallel proceedings. An inter partes approach as well as an erga omnes approach, will differ on the amount of effect of the rendered award, but they will both lead to a situation where all the parties’ issues will be subject to an arbitral proceeding.

The inference to be reached is that the third, the inter partes approaches is the most appropriate approach. Sweden has been standing still in its discussion and development in this area, and seems to be applying the approach that is permitting arbitration for private matters but not for issues of public nature. This will hopefully come to change, and such a way that United States is a model country for the execution. This inter partes approach meets the needs of the modern society and provides business parties with an ability to choose a way of settlement that suits them best. It provides the parties with a single arbitral proceeding without expanding the framework of arbitration. A change in this direction is inevitable because the parties as well as arbitral tribunals are working out ways to evade the other old-fashioned approaches. However, in the ICC award – 6097 (1989), the arbitration tribunal went too far and decided the dispute against the German governing law. Ultimately, the adopted approach should be followed and not the wish of the parties. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Vilka ämnesområden som inte lämpar sig för skiljeförfarande och således faller under nationell domstols jurisdiktion är omstritt. Skiljedomsmässighet, som riktar sig till själva tvistefrågan, besvarar den ovan ställda frågan i varje enskilt fall. Vad som faller inom ramen för skiljedomsmässighet avgörs av varje enskild stat.

Denna form av skiljedomsmässighet definerar de tvistande parternas freedom of contract och påverkar tillämpningsområdet för vilka tvistefrågor som får hänskjutas till prövning hos skiljedomstol. De tvistefrågor som faller utanför tillämpningsområdet är följaktligen undandragna skiljemäns kompetens och prövas istället av en nationell domstol.

Skiljedomsmässighet avseende patentfrågor kan förekomma i fyra olika... (More)
Vilka ämnesområden som inte lämpar sig för skiljeförfarande och således faller under nationell domstols jurisdiktion är omstritt. Skiljedomsmässighet, som riktar sig till själva tvistefrågan, besvarar den ovan ställda frågan i varje enskilt fall. Vad som faller inom ramen för skiljedomsmässighet avgörs av varje enskild stat.

Denna form av skiljedomsmässighet definerar de tvistande parternas freedom of contract och påverkar tillämpningsområdet för vilka tvistefrågor som får hänskjutas till prövning hos skiljedomstol. De tvistefrågor som faller utanför tillämpningsområdet är följaktligen undandragna skiljemäns kompetens och prövas istället av en nationell domstol.

Skiljedomsmässighet avseende patentfrågor kan förekomma i fyra olika former. Det mest restriktiva synsättet tillåter inte att några patentfrågor prövas av skiljemän, varken intrångs- eller giltighetsfrågor. Somliga länder gör istället en uppdelning och tillåter att privaträttsliga frågor hänskjuts till skiljedomstol, medan frågor av offentligrättslig karaktär anses vara icke skiljedomsmässiga. Det tredje betraktelsesättet tillåter att alla patentfrågor blir föremål för skiljedom men att skiljedomen endast erhåller relativ giltighet, på så vis att den endast har verkan mellan parterna. Patentet fortsätter följaktligen att vara inskrivet i det offentliga patentregistret och är giltigt i förhållande till tredje man, även om en skiljedomstol har ogiltigförklarat patentet. Det minst restriktiva synsättet liknar den tredje varianten, dock med den skillnaden att skiljedomen får verkan gentemot alla och envar.

På grund av den stora skillnad i synsätt avseende patentfrågor blir frågan om tillämplig lag på skiljedomsmässigheten oerhört viktig. Om tillämplig lag faller inom den första kategorin av möjliga synsätt, riskerar parterna att deras skiljeavtal förklaras vara ogiltigt. Det får till följd att patentet måste exponeras i det allmänna domstolssystemet. Om istället tillämplig lag faller inom den andra kategorin, kan parterna tvingas att utstå parallella processer. Inter partes samt erga omnes synsättet skiljer sig åt vad gäller effekten av den avkunnade skiljedomen, men de båda innebär att alla grunder och invändningar som framförs av parterna kan prövas av skiljedomstolen.

Den konklusion som nås är att det tredje, inter partes synsättet är det mest lämpade synsättet. Sveriges utveckling och diskussion på detta område verkar länge ha stått still. Det förefaller dock vara så att det är det andra synsättet, vilket gör en uppdelning mellan privaträtt och offentlig rätt, som är härskande i Sverige. Med USA som förebildsland kommer detta förhoppningsvis att förändras. Inter partes synsättet tillgodoser det moderna samhällets behov och ger affärsparter en möjlighet att välja en tvistelösningsform och process som är skräddarsydd för deras behov. Resultatet blir dessutom en process som inte utökar ramen för det traditionella skiljeförfarandet. En förändring i denna riktning torde vara oundviklig eftersom parterna själva, liksom skiljedomstolarna finner sätt att kringgå de mer omoderna synsätten. ICC:s skiljedom – 6097 (1989), gick dock för långt när den ansåg sig ha jurisdiktion trots det faktum att tysk lag explicit visade på motsatsen. Det synsätt som har antagits av respektive stat är dock det synsätt som skall följas och således inte parternas vilja. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Jansson, Therese LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20101
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Förmögenhetsrätt, Komparativ rätt, Processrätt
language
English
id
1686462
date added to LUP
2010-09-24 15:56:51
date last changed
2010-09-24 15:56:51
@misc{1686462,
  abstract     = {Which subject matters are inappropriate for submission to arbitration and should instead be decided by a court of law? Subject matter arbitrability answers this question. What is included in the scope of inarbitrability is decided by the each single country. 

Subject matter arbitrability has influence on the parties’ freedom of contact by defining which issues the disputing parties may freely empower an arbitral tribunal to rule over. The parties lack authority to submit subject matters, which fall outside the scope of arbitrability; these issues have to be settled by national courts.    

Patent law is an interesting subject matter since patent issues may be treated in four different ways. The most restricted approach does not permit any patent issues, neither infringement nor validity questions, to be arbitrated. The second approach divides private related issues from public ones, thus allowing the issue of infringement to be submitted to arbitration while the issue of validity is regarded as inarbitrable. Regarding the third approach, all patent issues fall within the scope of the subject matter arbitrability. However, the arbitral award may only be valid between the disputing parties. Thus, the patent will remain in the public patent register and valid in relation to all third parties, even after an award has invalidated the patent. The fourth and most liberal approach is similar to the third one, but it allows the rendered award to be valid against everyone. 

This variety and the major differences between the approaches makes the issue of governing law of the question of arbitrability of importance for the parties. If the applied law favors the first, most restricted approach, then the parties’ arbitration agreement will be considered invalid and the patent has to be scrutinized in national court proceedings. However, if the second most restricted approach is applicable because of the governing law, the parties might have to endure parallel proceedings. An inter partes approach as well as an erga omnes approach, will differ on the amount of effect of the rendered award, but they will both lead to a situation where all the parties’ issues will be subject to an arbitral proceeding.    

The inference to be reached is that the third, the inter partes approaches is the most appropriate approach. Sweden has been standing still in its discussion and development in this area, and seems to be applying the approach that is permitting arbitration for private matters but not for issues of public nature. This will hopefully come to change, and such a way that United States is a model country for the execution. This inter partes approach meets the needs of the modern society and provides business parties with an ability to choose a way of settlement that suits them best. It provides the parties with a single arbitral proceeding without expanding the framework of arbitration. A change in this direction is inevitable because the parties as well as arbitral tribunals are working out ways to evade the other old-fashioned approaches. However, in the ICC award – 6097 (1989), the arbitration tribunal went too far and decided the dispute against the German governing law. Ultimately, the adopted approach should be followed and not the wish of the parties.},
  author       = {Jansson, Therese},
  keyword      = {Förmögenhetsrätt,Komparativ rätt,Processrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Arbitrability regarding patent law - an international study},
  year         = {2010},
}