Monday, June 28, 2021

BREAKING: Munich I Regional Court creates third patent litigation division under Presiding Judge Dr. Georg Werner

The Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) just announced that its president (chief judge) Dr. Andrea Schmidt decided today to create a third Patentstreitkammer (patent litigation division). To be precise, this one is--for the time being--not a full-time division, but has one-half of the regular capacity.

The court already has two patent litigation divisions: the Seventh Civil Chamber under Presiding Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann, who is widely expected to take over the patent-specialized division of the Munich appeals court next year, and the Twenty-First Civil Chamber under Presiding Judge Tobias Pichlmaier. Presiding Judge Dr. Georg Werner will chair the third patent-specialized division, which will commence its operations on August 16, 2021. His side judges have not been announced yet.

Less than two weeks ago, when I noticed that Judge Dr. Werner had been promoted to Presiding Judge, I wrote that the Munich court would now be able to set up a third patent litigation division anytime. I had no inside track. I just know that ever more patent holders consider Munich their first choice for bringing infringement complaints. And indeed, the court's press release attributes this decision to "weiter ansteigenden Eingangszahlen in Patentstreitsachen" (continually increasing numbers of new filings in patent infringement matters).

Judge Dr. Werner is currently providing over a commercial law division and just last week enjoined the organizers of a Dubai knockoff of the Oktoberfest from promoting their event in Germany with an "Oktoberfest goes Dubai" slogan. It appears he's soon going to divide his time between commercial law and patent law.

Injunctions are the main attraction of Germany as a patent jurisdiction. A German patent injunction "reform" has been adopted by the Federal Parliament and not been vetoed by the Federal Council, meaning that it is now waiting to be signed by the Federal President and published in the country's Federal Law Gazette. However, patent infringers will be enjoined just as frequently as before. Patent-specialized judges from Munich, Mannheim, and Dusseldorf have already spoken out (albeit anonymously).

The Munich court's decision to open a third patent litigation division ensures that plaintiffs can still expect swift resolution despite a steady growth of the Munich patent docket. Speed is key. I am following these developments with great interest and will do my best to provide my future paying subscribers (to the premium service; there will still be some free content on this blog) with quality reporting on, and analysis of, how the case law of the patent litigation divisions in Munich and Mannheim evolves.

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