Patent protection for technical products expires after 20 years. However, there is no rule without exception. In its recent decision “Femur-Teil”(judgement of 15 April 2010, I ZR 145/08), the German Federal Court granted protection against an (almost) identical copy of a femoral element for a hip joint endoprosthesis, although patent protection had already expired in…

According to the so-called “Duesseldorfer Besichtigungspraxis” (Duesseldorf inspection practice), a patent owner who establishes a prevailing likelihood of infringement may secure evidence by inspection of the allegedly infringing device or method by a court-appointed, independent expert. The inspection order is granted in ex-parte proceedings. Contrary to other preliminary injunctions, the required urgency is generally presumed…

In this blog I report about how the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) has recently eliminated some potential for conflicting decisions in Germany’s bifurcated patent litigation system. The separation of infringement and invalidity proceedings is the basis for what we call the “mouse and elephant strategy”. In the infringement proceedings the patentee tries to establish a scope of…

In my first post I have described the old shabby courtroom of the patent chamber of the District Court of Düsseldorf. Meanwhile the court has moved to a new court house which is situated close to the central station. This new location is the result of a more service oriented approach of the judicature. Not…

The holder of a patent is entitled to damages caused by unlawful usage of the patent’s teaching. But what to do if the patent is transferred while the patent is being infringed? Who can claim damages for whose damage then? In principle, the transfer of the patent is not subject to the registration of the…

The German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) has recently made clear that every court has to take into account preceding decisions of the European Patent Office (EPO) and of courts of other contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC) if these decisions essentially concern the same questions. Although there is no principle of precedence in…

Control question: remember what this was? You certainly knew the answer had you read Max’s post on Patent Law and Philosophy: this is not just an IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container) for acids and toxins; this is a modern embodi-ment of an ancient Greek paradoxon. Remember: “cage + bottle = IBC”. This much is clear enough,…

The District Court Duesseldorf held that the addressee may not refuse acceptance of a complaint according to Art. 8 para. 1 lit. a) of Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 on the Service in the Member States of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters if the court file contains objective evidence that the document…

German courts (and German attorneys) have been quite creative to improve the position of the patentee in litigation in the past. Last year the Olanzapine- decision of the Appeals Court in Düsseldorf, which rendered a preliminary injunction although the patent had been previously nullified by the Federal Patent Court, has caused a sensation in the…