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15 years are enough! ECJ decided on the maximum period of exclusivity of a patent and SPC

by Miriam Büttner

In a recent decision the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the maximum period of exclusivity of a patent and a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) (Order of the Court dated 13 February 2014 – case no C-555/13, Merck Canada Inc. vs. Accord Healthcare Ltd and others).

Background:

Merck Canada Inc. (Merck) lodged an application for a patent for the active ingredient “montelukast sodium” in Portugal on 11 October 1991, which was granted on 2 Octo-ber 1998. The first marketing authorization (MA) for a medicinal product containing that active ingredient within the European Union was obtained in Finland on 25 Au-gust 1997. Merck applied for a SPC with the Port [...]

Punitive damages in Europe? The ECJ will have a word on it!

The newly established 15th Patent Senate of the Appeals Court of Düsseldorf (Presiding Judge Dr. Ulrike Voß) has referred a number of questions concerning the calculation of damages in IP cases to the European Court of Justice. This opens the floor for the ECJ to talk about damages, as far as I know for the first time in IP matters.

In the case which now has been referred to the ECJ plaintiff had already successfully sued defendant for infringement of its plant variety protection right and now tried to collect damages for the past infringement on the basis of a reasonable royalty. In calculating the damages on this basis, plaintiff requested to take into account several factors which he [...]

German Courts Differ on the IP Infringing Character of the Presentation of a Product at an International Trade Fair

Dr. Simon Klopschinski

In recent time the trademark, copyright and competition law senate (1st senate) of the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) and one of the patent senates of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court have issued conflicting decisions on the question of whether the presentation of a product at a trade fair in Germany constitutes an IP infringing offer.

Under German law the exclusive right of the patentee includes the act of offering a product which uses the patented invention. The meaning of offering is very broad since it does not only cover offers within the meaning of contract law but all acts which from an objective point of view make a patent infringing item available for pur [...]

To suspend or not to suspend – Bundesgerichtshof on bifurcation

by Hetti Hilge

In two recent and surprising decisions the Bundesgerichtshof (German Federal Court of Justice) clarified the effects of a first instance decision nullifying the patent in suit on the enforcement of a parallel infringement finding (including an injunction) and, upon second review, remedied what it considers an unintended oversight by the legislator (“Planwidrige Regelungslücke”) in the specific circumstances of patent litigation and bifurcation. Effectively “overruling” its own previous decision in the very same case (Microsoft vs Motorola), the court now ordered the temporary suspension of the enforcement of an appeal court judgment finding for infringement, against t [...]

Is the Federal Patent Court obliged to appoint a technical expert?

by Bernward Zollner

In a recent decision of the Federal Supreme Court dated 26 August 2014 (docket-No. X ZB 19/12) a further appeal of an applicant pursuing his patent application was rejected. Already the German Patent and Trademark Office had rejected the patent application. The Appeal of the applicant against this decision had been rejected by the Federal Patent Court. Against this decision the applicant submitted a further appeal to the Federal Supreme Court arguing that the Federal Patent Court should have appointed a technical expert. The Federal Supreme Court has rejected this further appeal.

In the reasoning it is pointed out that the Technical Senate of the Federal Patent Court does [...]

Chairman Between the Chairs -The Decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal R0012/19-

Almost everyday someone posts something about the Unified Patent Court or a seminar is offered about the “newest” developments. In fact nobody is able to predict whether the system will “work”. It is said that in order “to be successful” the system needs to be efficient, speedy and affordable. It is also said that it will largely depend on the qualification and experience of the future UPC judges whether the UPC will be accepted by its “customers”. While this is certainly true to some extent one should keep in mind that it is up to the lawmaker to provide the rules for the proceedings balancing efficiency with justice and -at least evenly important- to provide sufficient fund [...]

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