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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 [...]

Use Patents under German Law – Manifest Arrangement

by Dr. Simon Klopschinski

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court has found direct infringement of a use patent by manifest arrangement even though the product was not marketed together with an instruction manual or product information encouraging the buyer towards the patented use.

Use patents protect the use of an already known product in relation to a novel and inventive purpose. The scope of protection is, however, not limited to the use itself. To the contrary, it also extends to preliminary activities concerning the protected use. According to German court practice already the “manifest arrangement” or “obvious preparation” of a substance constitutes direct use. This applies for instance t [...]

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