Solvay SA v. Honeywell Fluorine Products Europe B.V.

Case C-616/10 (2012)

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Solvay SA v. Honeywell Fluorine Products Europe B.V.

European Union Court of Justice
Case C-616/10 (2012)

RW

Facts

The Belgian company Solvay SA (plaintiff) obtained a European patent for its product. Many European Union (EU) member states registered national patents based on Solvay’s European patent. Solvay filed suit in a Dutch court against the Dutch company Honeywell Fluorine Products Europe B.V. and its two Belgian corporate siblings (Honeywell companies) (defendants), accusing the Honeywell companies of infringing Solvay’s patent in multiple EU states. Under Article 2 of the EU’s then-current Brussels Regulation (regulation), the Dutch court normally could exercise jurisdiction only over the Dutch-domiciled Honeywell company and not over the Dutch company’s Belgian-domiciled siblings. Moreover, because Article 22 of the regulation gave exclusive substantive jurisdiction over nationally registered European patents to courts in the registering state, the Dutch court normally could not hear cases involving Solvay’s non-Dutch national patents. However, under Article 6 of the regulation, the Dutch court could exercise jurisdiction over the Belgian Honeywell companies if those companies’ actions were so closely connected with the Dutch Honeywell company’s actions as to pose the risk of irreconcilable judgments resulting from separate Dutch and Belgian litigation. In addition, Article 31 of the regulation gave the Dutch court power to grant provisional remedies, including protective measures, even if another EU state had substantive jurisdiction over the matter. The interplay between these regulation provisions became relevant when Solvay moved for a provisional cross-border injunction barring the Honeywell companies from marketing their product anywhere in Europe pending the outcome of the Dutch litigation. The Dutch court asked the EU Court of Justice for guidance.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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