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BPatG
BPatG
BPatG
BPatG
 

The Court

About the Court:

The Federal Patent Court was established in Munich in 1961. It is one of the highest federal courts with jurisdiction over cases involving the granting, denial or withdrawal of industrial property rights. It has jurisdiction for rulings on appeals against decisions of the sections and departments of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. Furthermore, the Court has jurisdiction over actions for the declaration of nullity of German patents and of those European patents that are effective in the Federal Republic of Germany. In addition to this, the Court adjudicates on actions for the grant or withdrawal of compulsory licenses or for adjustments of the remuneration for a compulsory licence set by a judgment. Finally, the Court decides on appeals against decisions of the opposition boards of the Federal Office for Plant Varieties.

Like the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and the Federal Office for Plant Varieties, the Federal Patent Court only adjudicates on cases involving the grant (registration) or denial of property rights (patents, trade marks, utility models, topographies, designs and plant variety protection rights). It may also void a right that has been granted by cancellation or a declaration of nullity. It does not, however, have jurisdiction over disputes on account of infringements of industrial property rights. Such injunctions or compensation claims may only be asserted before the civil courts.

The judges of the Federal Patent Court sit on 27 boards: 6 Nullity Boards, 1 Juridical Board of Appeal and Nullity Board, 12 Technical Boards of Appeal, 5 Boards of Appeal for Trade Marks, 1 Board of Appeal for Trade Marks and Designs, 1 Board of Appeal for Utility Models and 1 Board of Appeal for Plant Variety Cases.

One unique feature of the Federal Patent Court within the German court system is that its judges (of whom there are 113 at present) include not only lawyers, but also natural scientists. Judges who have trained in natural sciences are referred to as 'technical' judges. Like the legally-qualified members, they are professional judges appointed for life and have all the rights and duties of a professional judge. The technical judges sit on all cases which are also related to the properties of a technical invention, for instance in proceedings for the grant of a patent or on an action for the declaration of patent nullity, as well as in cancellation proceedings related to utility models. By contrast, the boards of appeal for all trade mark proceedings sit exclusively with legally-trained members.