How to determine monetary compensation in a patent infringement proceeding


Gábor Harangozó

A foreign patentee launched a patent infringement proceeding against an unauthorised user before the Metropolitan Court.

In the case, the patentee’s claims covered a cutting mechanism for agricultural use in Hungary. The patentee had sold a substantial number of devices incorporating the patented cutting mechanism; later, a slavish imitation of the patented device appeared in the market. The imitated devices were manufactured and distributed by a local company without permission of the patentee as a built-in part of a complex agricultural machine.

The manufacturer admitted patent infringement in the first trial. The proceeding was then directed to compensation. The number of the devices sold and the enrichment obtained from them had to be determined.

In calculating the enrichment, the basic problem was that the manufacturing company always sold the device as an integral part of a complex machine and never alone, so its net selling price was unknown. The defendant alleged an unreasonably low price for the device, just above its manufacturing costs, and this price was strongly disputed by the plaintiff. However, the total selling price of the complex machines equipped with one or two of the infringing devices was also known.

Hungary, patent, monetary compensation