Abuse of rights' in Belgian and French patent law. A case law analysis

Amandine Leonard (KU Leuven), “Abuse of rights' in Belgian and French patent law. A case law analysis”

This paper examines what actions undertaken by patent holders have been considered as abusive in the framework of French and Belgian patent litigation. Particular attention is given to the principle of the prohibition of ‘abuse of rights’ (AoR). In the jurisdictions under scrutiny, the principle of AoR is essentially a jurisprudential construction in cases where judges faced a particular set of circumstances for which no codified rules were available. To investigate how judges deal with the prohibition of AoR in patent litigation and taking into account the jurisprudential nature of the principle, an in-depth and comparative case law analysis has been conducted. Although the number of cases in which patent holders have been sanctioned for such abuses is not overabundant, they do provide sufficient leads on what is understood by Belgian and French courts to constitute an abuse of patent rights. From this comparative analysis, useful lessons can be learned for the interpretation of the evasive notion of ‘abuse’ from a broader perspective.