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European National Patent Decisions: Overview and Summary 2004 – 2011

May 11, 2012

National patent case law remains important: As of May 2012 it is still not known when the EU Patent will actually come into force and when and where the EU Unified Patent Court (note: London, Paris and Munich are the “hot” candidates) will be established.

The aim of creating a Unified Patent Court is not only to reduce costs, but, to have a centralized court responsible for all the cases and thereby help increase legal certainty for both applicants and defendants. In the past and until now the various national courts called upon in patent litigation cases have often rendered contradiciting decisions. This is happing less often since many of the judges from the various countries meet on a regular basis at judges symposiums and discuss and try to streamline their decisions – even though the legal parameters are to a great extent still missing.

However, fact is: For the time being, patent infringment cases still have to be brought and filed before a national court. Therefore, it is of major importance to know what courts in which countries have decided on legal issues relating to patents.

For this reason we take the opportunity to point out that the European Patent Office (EPO) just recently published an excellent Summary of Patent Case Law from 14 members of the EPC contracting states between the years 2004 – 2011. This almost 300 page “bible” is published in the three official languages: German, English and French. It reveals what each of the 14 national courts participating decided upon regarding, e.g. patentable inventions, novelty, inventive step, industrial applicability etc.

For more information please see the following links at the EPO:

EPO Introduction: http://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/national-patent-decisions.html

EPO Patent Decision Summary 2004 – 2011: http://archive.epo.org/epo/pubs/oj012/02_12/12_spe0.pdf

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