26 July 2010

Known German Positions on the Unified EU Patent Court System

In a press release of the German Fedaral Patent Court dated July 19, 2010 it is reported on an patent law expert discussion that took place in the neo-barock Justizpalast of Munich (palace of justice) in which, by the way, the members of the White Rose were sentenced in 1943.

The event was invited by Federal Minster of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Bavarian Minister of Justice Beate Merk and concerned the impact of a unified European patent court system on Germany.

As a bottomline message, Ms Merk recognised that the "future European patent jurisdiction is a great opportunity for the integration of the European internal market".

The plans of the European Commission and the Council to establish a European Patent Court for dealing with all the patents that are granted by the European Patent Office, have been explained by Ms Margot Fröhlinger, Director of Knowledge-Based Economy inside the DG Internal Market (see this post for a related talk of Ms Fröhliger).

Further participants were Mr Benoît Batistelli, President of the European Patent Office as of July 1, 2010, Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, President of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), and numerous other representatives of the judiciary, the patent offices, patent attorneys and other legal professions.

Ms Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger emphasised the relevance of the planned reforms: "the European patent jurisdiction will reder EU-wide patents cost-effectively and efficiently enforcible. The whole market will benefit from this, and especially Germany as 'European patent champion'. A strong patent law is the motor of innovation." She further said that "we have held intensive negotiations in Brussels and are on the right track with the regulatory proposals for the European Patent Court. I await with great interest the opinion of the European Court of Justice regarding the EU-judical framework of the proposed court model."

Ms Merk was pleased with the overwhelming interest in the event: "High-profile guests attended the event and the hall was filled to the limit with 200 further guests. This shows that the topic is of great importance and closely followed by the Munich patent community with utmost interest". She stressed that "the future of the European patent jurisdiction is a great opportunity for a further integration of the European internal market. It raises, however, also a number of issues regarding the national patent courts, patent chambers and patent offices. It is of particular interest, where the chambers of the European patent court will be situated. With respect to this issue, Munich is in a good position. As the home of numerous patent-related institutions and the strong patent activity of Bavarian companies, the "capital city of patents" of Munich recommends itself as the domicile of the future European patent jurisdiction."

Mr. Raimund Lutz, President of the Federal Patent Court (BPatG) stressed that, fortunately, the current draft European patent jurisdiction adopts many elements of the German patent court system and added "we are one of the few specialised courts for intellectual property protection in Europe. As such, we are prepared to contribute with our knowledge and experience to the European patent court system."

Frankly speaking, a German Minister considering Germany as 'European patent champion', a Bavarian Minister considering Munich as the 'capital city of patents' and a German Court President considering the German court system as a model for Europe is not even worth a press release. Like always, the more intesting discussions were presumably held off the record. Maybe a fellow blogger attended the event and finds the time for a report.