Rule 333 – Review of case management orders

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1. Case management decisions or orders made by the judge-rapporteur or the presiding judge shall be reviewed by the panel, on a reasoned Application by a party.

2. An Application for the review of a case management order shall be lodged within 15 days of service of the order. The Application shall set out the grounds for review and the evidence, if any, in support of the grounds. The other party shall be given an opportunity to be heard.

3. The party seeking a review shall pay the fee for the review of a case management order, in accordance with Part 6. Rule 15.2 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

4. The panel shall as soon as practicable decide the Application for review and make any necessary revised case management order.

5. A decision of the panel on an Application for review is a procedural decision for the purposes of Rule 220.2.

 

Case Law

 

Court of Appeal

 

IPPT20240111, UPC CoA, Netgear v Huawei

Request for discretionary review and appeal allowed of decision of the judge-rapporteur not to allow review of order by the panel that a preliminary objection is to be dealt within the main proceedings (Rule 220(3) RoP). As a general principle, unless provided otherwise, a case management decision or order made by the judge-rapporteur or the presiding judge can only be appealed if such decision or order has first been reviewed by the panel pursuant to Rule 333.1. Request for a discretionary review allowed of decision of judge-rapporteur on the admissibility of the application to have his decision reviewed by the panel pursuant to Rule 333.1 RoP, rather than have the panel decide on the admissibility of the application. Denying the request only justified if the underlying reasoning of the judge-rapporteur would be accurate. Under these circumstances, the standing judge considers it justified to allow the request for discretionary review to the extent that the applicant is allowed to appeal the decision of 11 December 2023.

 

First Instance

 

IPPT20240130, UPC CFI, LD Paris, Abbott v Dexcom
Review of case management confidentiality order by judge-rapporteur (Rule 333 RoP) concerning discrepancy in the fines (€ 50.000 v € 250.000) set by the Local Division Paris and the Local Division Munich for breach of confidentiality orders (Rule 262 RoP, Rule 262A RoP) in parallel proceedings between the same parties concerning the same protected confidential information regarding two different patents. No justified need to harmonise the amount of the fine because one division is not bound by a decision in another division despite belonging to the same unified court. The Judge-Rapporteur was justified in considering that part of the confidential information had already been disclosed without a confidentiality restriction and that a lower amount of the fine would sufficiently protect the legitimate interests of the parties in the event of a breach. Therefore, a maximum fine amount of EUR 50,000 in case of breach is appropriate and proportionate in the contested confidentiality order and there is no need to set a higher maximum amount for the fine. No need for amendment of the order to avoid the potential risk of a double fine: it will be at the Court’s discretion, at the time of any breach, to decide on the appropriate amount of a fine to be paid, taking into account all elements in concreto, including any previous fine decided by the UPC Munich Local Division for the same breach. There is no grounds to bind the Paris Local Division, in case of breach and as requested by Dexcom, in cases where the Munich Local Division has already imposed a fine. 

 

IPPT20240125, UPC CFI, LD Hamburg, Fives v Reel
A decision by the judge-rapporteur granting a preliminary objection that the UPC lacks competence cannot be reviewed by the full panel on the basis of Rule 333 RoP, but may be appealed to the Court of Appeal as a final decision of the Court of First Instance (Rule 21.1 RoP, Rule 220(1)(a) RoP
Rule 333.1 RoP does not apply directly. This is because Rule 333.1 of the Rules of Procedure only applies to "procedural decisions or orders". The decision whose review the applicant seeks is not procedural. It follows from the term "procedural" that the decision may not be a final decision and thus not "terminating the proceedings". Nor does an analogous application of Rule 333.1 RoP apply in the present case. There is neither an unintended loophole nor a comparable situation of interest. Nor does the legislative history of the RoP indicate otherwise. In this respect, the plaintiff refers to comments made by the persons involved in the preparation of the RoP. From these remarks, the plaintiff deduces that they were of the opinion that Rule 333.1 of the Rules of Procedure applies directly to a decision granting the objection. However, this cannot be inferred from the comments referred to by the plaintiff. The comments are very brief and do not make clear the specific context in which they stand. The decision of the Helsinki Local Chamber of 28 August 2023 - UPC_CFI_214/2023 - does not contradict this understanding.

 

IPPT20240124, UPC CFI, LD Paris, Abbott v Dexcom
Requested leave to appeal confidentiality order by judge-rapporteur not admissible, until that  order has first been reviewed by the panel in the pending review procedure (Rule 220(2) RoP, Rule 333(1) RoP). (See also: IPPT20240111, UPC CoA, Netgear v Huawei)  

 

IPPT20240118, UPC CFI, LD Munich, Netgear v Huawei
Leave to amend the action to include claims of additional patent after the conclusion of limitation proceedings related thereto as granted by judge-rapporteur confirmed by the panel (Rule 263 RoP, Article 105a EPC). Rule 263 RoP leave to change claim or amend case is a procedural order to be made by the judge-rapporteur and subject to review by the panel (Rule 333 RoP and subsequent appeal (Rule 220 RoP). The request is unfounded. Assessment of the admissibility of the extension of the action is based solely on Rule 263 RoP and not on national law. The plaintiff could not reasonably be expected to assert the limited claims earlier before the conclusion of the limitation proceedings, also due to the risk of a further counterclaim for a declaration of invalidity of the second patent. In the context of the present proceedings or in the context of separate proceedings, the defendants must be granted the same time limits for their defence that would have been granted if they had filed a separate action, but no longer. 

 

IPPT20231211, UPC CFI, LD Munich, Huawei v Netgear

Notification by the judge-rapporteur (Rule 20(2) RoP that a Preliminary objection is to be dealt with in the main proceedings is not subject to review by the panel (Rule 333(1)) RoP). The judge-rapporteur decides on this inadmissible application because of the objective of procedural economy, in particular the conservation of the time resources of the other members of the panel.