Case of the Day: Berkenhoff GmbH v. Global Trade Network, Inc.

The case of the day is Berkenhoff GmbH v. Global Trade Network, Inc. (S.D. Ohio 2012). The parties had a licensing dispute over a patent relating to electric discharge machining wire used in precision cutting. The parties arbitrated the dispute in Frankfurt. The award was in Berkenhoff’s favor, and Berkenhoff sought to confirm the award in Ohio. However, Global Trade Network and the other defendant, Composite Concepts, challenged the award in a German court, and they moved to stay the confirmation proceedings. Composite Concepts also moved to vacate the award.

The judge stayed the case. Fair enough—Article VI of the New York Convention permits a stay when proceedings to vacate the award are pending in the proper court.

The motion to vacate was obviously improper. Only the courts of Germany had jurisdiction to vacate the award. Composite Concepts, however, conceded the point and said that it had misnamed its motion, which was, in reality, an opposition to the motion to confirm raising arguments under Article V of the Convention. The court did not decide the motion, however, as the case was stayed.

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