Where do you come from?
Aaaaaha. Where again is it?
Düsseldorf is probably not the hottest topic to start a conversation abroad. Ok, it’s not Paris (although Düsseldorfers call it –for whathever reason “Little Paris”), but it’s also not Marshall, Texas.
If you are on a patent conference, this is different. Why that? Is it, because IP lawyers are a special breed, individual characters, not commercially streamlined, choosing a weird location for holidays? No, it’s because chances are good that their clients have been involved already in patent litigation in Düsseldorf or they have at least heard of it as being an important venue for patent litigation. Insofar it’s more like Marshall, Texas than like Paris.
What makes it special? If you enter the building which is said to be the court house you wonder whether you have been mislead by the taxi driver. Ugly post war architecture. With an ancient elevator which seems to have seen its last inspection in the Sixties you go to the second floor to room R 265, which has seen its better days when “12 Angry Men” came into cinema. Small, with shabby furniture, the paint being as old as the building. The carpet on the floor oszillates between brown, yellow and green, as if Justitia has vomited because she receives so little respect from the state housing her. The worst is that the windows don’t open to let the sweat of the attorneys and clients evaporate in summer, when it can be quite hot and humid in Düsseldorf. There is a clock on the wall opposite the bench of judges, but it has no clock hand. Shame, it’s Germany, known to be always on time. Probably the clock hand has been removed to disguise that the tight time schedule for the hearing day (several hearings on the same day following one after the other) is often exceeded. It is inconceivable that the “Who is Who” of the international economy has actually appeared in this court room in patent cases. But they did: Last year this sad and shabby room has seen 560 patent cases.
Is it this ugliness which makes it so popular? One might think so if one enters the second most popular court for patent cases, the District Court of Mannheim. Likewise, it is housed in an extraordinary ugly building, albeit opposite to a large baroque castle. The court room has no windows, however, at least it’s clean and offers more space. Based on these empirical data one has to assume that popularity correlates with ugliness. Since the Düsseldorf court is the ugliest, it’s the most popular.
However, the truth is: The court sits in the middle of bars and cafés in the old part of the town, the party mile. That’s why it is so popular.
The sad thing is, the court has just moved to another location amidst the “Bronx” of Düsseldorf. How this will influence judicature in future will be reported regularly in this blog.