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The High Court has declined jurisdiction over an abuse of dominance claim against HEVC Advance (incorporated in Delaware) and Philips (incorporated in the Netherlands).  

The case concerned the H.265 (or HEVC) standard for high definition broadcasts.  HEVC Advance administers a large pool of patents essential to the standard. Philips is one of the members of the pool. In early 2019, Vestel – one of the largest manufacturers of televisions in the world – commenced proceedings in the High Court alleging that the licensing terms offered by HEVC Advance and/or Philips were abusive and contrary to Article 102 TFEU and the Chapter II prohibition in the Competition Act 1998.

In a judgment delivered on 21 October 2019, the High Court declined jurisdiction over the claim. As regards both defendants, the Court held that there was no good arguable case that loss and damage would be suffered in the UK ([61]-[67], [72], [99]-[108]).  Furthermore, as regards Advance, the Court held that the claim was not “wholly or principally” related to UK property, as UK patents comprised a small percentage of the patents in the pool ([113], [115]).  The Court further indicated that it would not have allowed a part of the claim which purported to impact upon the exercise of injunctive powers by foreign Courts to proceed in any event, citing and applying comments of the Court of Appeal in an earlier case disapproving of “jurisdictional imperialism” ([123]).

James Segan acted for Advance, instructed by Powell Gilbert. Andrew Scott acted for Philips, instructed by Bristows.

The judgment is available here.

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