The Federal Court of Justice held that the correct assessment of the involvement of an inventive activity requires that the problem is first identified without knowledge of the invention. This is necessary for localising the appropriate starting point for the skilled person’s desire to provide a contribution to the arts. It is not admissible to…

The FCJ held that an in vitro assay for testing for a specific immunological binding (namely testing for antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi) using a polypeptide defined by its amino acid and a polypeptide defined by the nucleic acid sequence encoding the same, or a polypeptide encoded by segments of the nucleic acid sequence, is sufficiently…

According to the FCJ, when it comes to the question of whether a particular solution was obvious to the skilled person, it is irrelevant whether a different solution was more obvious. In the present case, it was decisive that two options were available for the skilled person, both of which were suitable for the purpose…

Four leading patent law firms in Germany – Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner – have published an open letter expressing ‘great concern’ about the developments at the European Patent Office, particularly ‘the modifications to the incentive systems for the examination of patent applications’. The ‘overreaching desire for high productivity’ has led to…

The FCJ held that: a) An objection by one party can lead to the petitioner being required to demonstrate a legitimate interest in the inspection of the files of a patent nullity procedure, but only if the opposing party demonstrates an interest of its own which may stand in the way of the inspection. b)…

The FCJ ordered that the petitioner must be granted access to the entire file wrapper. The objections raised by the plaintiff with regard to parts of the file which allow conclusions to be drawn on infringement proceedings conducted in parallel or which contain information on the designs challenged there were unfounded. A full summary of…

The Federal Patent Court (FPC) ruled on the interplay between limitation proceedings before the EPO and a national nullity action, and the circumstances in which a request for a declaratory judgment concerning (partial) termination of proceedings in relation to the limited part of the patent is admissible and well-founded. The FPC held that where the…

The Federal Court of Justice confirmed that the definition of the person skilled in the art aims at defining a fictive person, from whose point of view the prior art and the patent is considered. Therefore, this definition cannot be based on considerations as to interpretation of the patent or inventive step. A full summary…

The FCJ held that when assessing inventive step the claim should be interpreted so that the disclosed embodiments are taken into account. Prior art that is far removed from the disclosed embodiments can thus not be assumed to disclose the most important features. Further, it was again confirmed that prior art that already provides a…

The Federal Court of Justice confirmed that a nullity defendant can defend its patent to a limited extent only insofar as it is attacked by the nullity plaintiff. The limited defence of the patent in dispute by combining an attacked claim with an uncontested subclaim or with one of several variants of an uncontested subclaim…