Fairly soon, I am sure, the holding of hearings remotely will become such a commonplace that they will pass without comment. In the interim, however, it is worthwhile noting that the Court of Appeal heard an appeal on the 26th March, and gave judgment today, by videoconferencing.


In  Genentech Inc. v The Comptroller General of Patents [2020] EWCA Civ 475 the Court of Appeal were considering an appeal from the Patents Court.  The appeal was due to go ahead on the 26th March but was heard remotely.


“Recorder Campbell’s order was made on appeals by Genentech and MDC from a combined decision of Mr B. Micklewright, a Hearing Officer acting for the respondent, The Comptroller General of Patents (“the Comptroller”). By various procedural applications to which I shall come, the Comptroller had been asked to grant a remedy which would have the effect of allowing the SPC to continue in force until its maximum duration. In a decision arrived at on the papers alone dated 21 February 2020 Mr Micklewright refused the several applications before him. The Recorder dismissed both appeals from that decision after an expedited hearing on 4 March 2020 at which all parties were represented by leading counsel. On 20 March 2020 I granted permission to appeal to this court. A remote hearing of the appeals was held by video conferencing on 26 March 2020 pursuant to Practice Direction 51Y- Video or Audio Hearings during Coronavirus Pandemic, signed by the Lord Chancellor and the Master of the Rolls on 24 March 2020. This avoided the need for any member of the court, party or legal representative to attend court. A media representative was able to access the proceedings remotely, by joining the video conference, and accordingly the proceedings were held in public, pursuant to paragraph 3 of that Practice Direction.”