Contributed By Linklaters
As mentioned in 4.4 Revocation/Cancellation and Infringement, Belgium does not apply the bifurcation principle.
Because of the EPC system, to which Belgium is a party, it is nevertheless inherent that parallel proceedings can exist (infringement and revocation or cancellation), whether in a different jurisdiction or at the level of the EPO (opposition division or board of appeal). While only national courts may rule on infringement issues, (in)validity issues may be raised before several instances (either courts, arbitration panels or opposition divisions and boards of appeal).
Although Belgium used to be a popular forum to trigger so-called torpedo actions, the possible impact of such proceedings has decreased significantly. Article 31(2) of the Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Brussels I Recast Regulation) provides that: “Where a court of a Member State on which an agreement as referred to in Article 25 confers exclusive jurisdiction is seized, any court of another Member State shall stay the proceedings until such time as the court seized on the basis of the agreement declares that it has no jurisdiction under the agreement.” Any court that has been appointed as a result of an exclusive jurisdiction clause may continue to handle the case without waiting for the court first seized to stay the initial proceedings.