It’s Anti-Suit Injunctions All The Way Down – The Strange New Realities of International Litigation Over Standards-Essential Patents
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Today’s markets for technology products — from smartphones to home appliances to automobiles — are inherently global. This is especially true of products that embody technical standards — protocols like 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB that are covered by hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of patents (so-called “standards-essential patents” or “SEPs”). Given the global scope and size of these markets, it is not surprising that patent litigation over standardized products is often conducted on a global scale. This article looks at an increasingly important aspect of these global standards wars: the ability of a court in one jurisdiction to prevent a party from pursuing litigation in another jurisdiction using a procedural mechanism called the anti-suit injunction (ASI). To complicate matters further, a litigant may also petition a court in one jurisdiction to prevent a party from seeking an ASI in another jurisdiction — the so-called anti-anti-suit injunction (AASI). And, curiouser still, litigants have recently re-invigorated the anti-anti-anti-suit injunction (AAASI), a procedural move that seeks to prevent a litigant from obtaining an AASI to block another litigant from requesting an ASI. If there is no theoretical limit to the procedural machinations to which parties can go in such disputes, it may, indeed, be injunctions “all the way down”.
IP Litigator, 26(4):1-7 (July/August 2020)