Published in Patents

Patent Law in Germany: Insights and Developments from 2022-2023

German patent law 2023

Dr. Michael Plevan
Dr. Michael Plevan

As we reflect on the year gone by, it’s clear that the landscape of patent law in Germany has been evolving rapidly, particularly with the advent of the Unified Patent Court (UPC). This blog post delves into the significant changes and developments in German patent litigation, highlighting how these shifts impact legal practices and the broader technological sector.

  1. Germany’s Role in the Unified Patent Court (UPC)
    2022-2023 has been a pivotal period for patent litigation in Germany, marked by the introduction of the UPC. This new cross-border patent litigation system is reshaping how cases are handled, potentially influencing the caseload of German courts. Interestingly, Germany’s prominence in European patent litigation seems poised to continue, as evidenced by the high frequency of cases in its UPC divisions.
  2. Germany’s Judicial Representation in the UPC
    Germany’s commitment to the UPC is further demonstrated by setting up four local divisions and hosting a key section of the central division. With a significant number of German judges in the UPC, German influence in the UPC is significant.
  3. High-Profile Patent Disputes and Decisions
    The past year has seen several notable patent disputes in Germany, particularly around standard-essential technologies and FRAND licences. Decisions like the Regional Court of Munich’s stance on SEP licensing criteria and the Federal Court of Justice’s (FCJ) rulings on patent exhaustion in international licensing are reshaping the legal landscape.
  4. BioNTech’s Patent Litigation and mRNA Technology
    A key highlight has been the ongoing litigation involving German vaccine manufacturer BioNTech. The outcome of these cases could have significant implications for the future use of mRNA technology, a matter of global interest.
  5. Procedural Developments in Preliminary Injunctions
    The ECJ’s decision in Phoenix Contact v. Harting has sparked a debate on the presumption of validity for patents in the context of preliminary injunctions. The evolving stance of German courts on this issue is crucial for legal practitioners and patent holders alike.

Conclusion:
The year 2022-2023 has been a transformative period for patent law in Germany. As the landscape continues to evolve with the UPC’s influence and significant judicial decisions, staying informed and adaptable is key for legal practitioners and companies operating in this dynamic environment.

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Mobile hero image Dr. Michael Plevan

German Patent Attorney

European Patent Attorney

UPC Representative