An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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9.6.9 Technical primers and statements of agreed common general knowledge Technical primers

For anything other than the simplest technology or subject matter, the court will normally make provision at the CMC for the parties to provide an agreed technical primer. This is designed to be an introduction to the technology for the benefit of the trial judge and contain the basic undisputed technology relevant to the case. The parties typically identify which parts of the primer they agree form part of the common general knowledge of the skilled person in the art at the relevant date.

The technical primer is produced sufficiently in advance of the parties preparing their expert evidence so as to avoid the experts unnecessarily repeating the same material in their reports as is covered in the primer. Generally, the claimant will produce a first draft of the primer, on which the defendant will provide comments, including any additions or deletions, before the parties agree on the contents of the final document. Parties will often ask their instructed experts to assist in preparing the technical primer. Statements of agreed common general knowledge

More recently, practice in the Patents Court has been moving away from the provision of technical primers and toward what have become known as statements of agreed common general knowledge. These are intended to set out where the parties (or, typically, their respective experts) agree on aspects of the common general knowledge. Consequently, statements of agreed common general knowledge tend to be produced after the parties have exchanged expert evidence.

Once the contents of the statement have been agreed upon between the parties, it will typically be provided to the judge at the same time as the parties provide to the court their skeleton arguments for trial (see Section below). The parties will also, at that stage, be required to provide an agreed list of disputed common general knowledge, which is intended to indicate the areas of dispute that remain between the parties on the common general knowledge that the judge may wish to decide. The judge may ask the parties to revise this list after trial to reflect any issues that have fallen away.