Tuesday, December 21, 2021

New presiding judge for Munich Higher Regional Court's patent-specialized 6th Civil Senate: Judge Lars Meinhardt succeeds Judge Konrad Retzer

Munich is one of the world's most important patent litigation hotspots. Last month the new patent litigation division of the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court)--the 44. Zivilkammer (44th Civil Chamber)--held its premiere hearing. Today I've been able to find out from the press office of the Oberlandesgericht München (Munich Higher Regional Court) who will succeed retired Presiding Judge Konrad Retzer of the 6. Zivilsenat (6th Civil Senate), which hears patent appeals from the lower Munich court but also some other IP and competition matters: Judge Lars Meinhardt.

Judge Meinhardt has not been mentioned on this blog before. You can find a picture and short bio (in German) here. He presided over the lower Munich court's 33rd Civil Chamber from 2012 to 2018. The 33rd Civil Chamber hears cases involving trademark, copyright, design rights, and unfair competition claims--all of which fields are adjacent to patent law. He then joined the 29th Civil Senate of the Munich appeals court, which has a similar focus. Apparently he also dealt with matters involving the professional code governing the work of patent attorneys.

Actually, my contacts in the Munich patent litigation community largely thought Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann (who presides over the lower court's patent-specialized 7th Civil Chamber) was the logical successor to Judge Retzer (who presided over the 7th Civil Chamber before he got promoted to the appeals court). But for whatever reason, Judge Meinhardt, whose positions on patent enforcement are unknown, has been picked. Judge Zigann, however, will undoubtedly have a key role with the Unified Patent Court, which will commence its operation next summer or so. In a way, that will be an even greater opportunity for him, though for Munich as a patent venue it would have been the best decision to guarantee a high degree of consistency between the lower court and the appeals court going forward. That may, however, be the outcome under Presiding Judge Meinhardt, too, as he will undoubtedly find out (if he hasn't already) what makes Munich such a popular venue for patent enforcement.

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