The FCJ confirmed that, when formulating the problem as a starting point for assessing inventive step, it is not permissible to narrow the problem by referring to prior art not cited in the patent.

The patent relates to a sound generator, in particular for parking assistance systems for vehicles. The sound generator is equipped with a housing comprising a base part and a top part. The base part has a receiving space, which can be covered by the top part, for receiving a diaphragm.

Case date: 17 April 2018
Case number: X ZR 56/16
Court: Federal Court of Justice of Germany

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.


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One comment

  1. The FCJ (like every other Supreme Court in Europe) clings to its own individual obviousness approach rather than aligning with the Gold Standard of the EPO’s “Problem and Solution” Approach. Is that because, for the FCJ, EPO-PSA is i) tainted with impermissible hindsight ii) seen as artificial, not “real life” iii) incompatible with the established obviousness caselaw of the FCJ, iv) some other reason or v) all of these?

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