Different views from the EPO and Germany on the same case
Functional features in patent claims may provide protection not only for specific embodiments disclosed in the patent specification, but also for undisclosed (future) embodiments. A classic example is a claim of the format “An inhibitor of protein P for the treatment of a disease X” or variants thereof in the second medical use claim format. Patentees naturally love such claims, competitors usually reject them as excessively broad and examiners commonly approach them at least with skepticism. Do such claims “reach through” to the use of compounds that have yet to be discovered or invented by others, or do they [...]
In its decision “Fahrradkurbeleinheit” (“bike crank assembly”) the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf has lifted an injunction by the Regional Court of Düsseldorf on appeal (OLG Düsseldorf, I-2 U 78/12, 20 June 2013). Contrary to the first instance the court did not find for patent infringement. Questions of literal and equivalent infringement have been discussed and the court gave some useful guidance on the interpretation of patent claims.
One of the issues of the case was whether the claim wording “formed on” required two parts – if not being integral – to be at least firmly connected to each other. Here, the court stated that “formed on” did not necessarily mean that the one part [...]
In Medeva (C-322/10 of 24 November 2011) the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had ruled that a Supplementary Protection Certificate relating to a combination of active ingredients can only be granted in view of Art. 3(a) of the Regulation (EC) No. 469/2009, if the active ingredients are “specified” in the wording of the claims of the basic patent relied on. Otherwise, in the view of the CJEU, the necessary protection in the sense of Art. 3(a) of the Regulation does not exist. Since it remains fully unclear what the CJEU means with “specified”, a term alien to patent law, this question meanwhile has become the subject matter of two new referrals to the CJEU, i.e. C-443/12 [...]
With its decision of July 25, 2013 (6 U 541/12), the Higher Regional Court Munich confirmed the first-instance decision finding that licenses under the patents of an insolvent company remain valid and enforceable.
This case relates to the spinning-off of the stand-alone memory business unit from Infineon AG to the newly established Quimonda AG, and the later insolvency of Quimonda. With the spin-off, Infineon transferred to Quimonda inter alia a patent portfolio that had originated in part from Siemens AG. The patents being transferred were partially subject to license or cross-license agreements entered into by Siemens or Infineon.
The contribution agreement effecting the spin-off to Quimon [...]
by Hetti Hilge
The District Court Cologne made some interesting remarks on the requirements of a seizure by the police on a trade show (decision of 6 May 2013, 116 QS 12/13 an, 116 Js 788/12). Under German law, a willful patent infringement constitutes a criminal act so that the public prosecution and the police are generally competent to investigate. On trade shows, seizures of products which are alleged to infringe patents or other IP rights are often based on criminal law, and for some trade shows the police are present during the whole time in order to be able to act promptly. As the police officers regularly have no detailed knowledge of patent law, they usually rely on the partial expl [...]
A recent decision of the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) Düsseldorf now confirms that a holding company cannot easily dive away under the patent infringing activities of its subsidiaries.
Many companies are designed in the form of a group, having a holding company at the top and a number of subsidiaries which are directly or indirectly owned by the holding company. Different working areas are split between the companies of the group.
If one of these subsidiaries infringes a patent, the question arises whether and to what extent the holding itself is responsible for the infringement. Is the holding liable to compensation of damages? Does the holding have to render accoun [...]