Monday, January 16, 2023

Judge Zigann's successor has been appointed: Judge Schoen is now Presiding Judge of the Munich I Regional Court's Seventh Civil Chamber, has profound patent law expertise

A few months ago, one of the world's most famous patent infringement judges, Presiding Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann, was promoted from the Munich I Regional Court's 7th Civil Chamber to the Munich Higher Regional Court (38th Civil Senate). He has also been appointed to the Unified Patent Court's Munich Local Division, initially spending only part of his time there. In the meantime, his deputy Judge Benjamin Kuttenkeuler filled in, and from what I hear, everything went smoothly during the interregnum.

The big question was who would be appointed to succeed Judge Dr. Zigann in the long run. Today a spokeswoman for the Munich court has officially confirmed that as of the beginning of this month, Judge Dr. Oliver Schoen ("Schön" in German) is the Seventh Civil Chamber's new Presiding Judge.

Judge Dr. Schoen is a seasoned patent infringement judge and previously served as a side judge of the Seventh Civil Chamber. I remember him from some Microsoft v. Motorola cases in 2011-2012 under then-Presiding Judge Dr. Peter Guntz (who became a member of the Technical Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office) as well as some Qualcomm v. Apple cases in 2018. On this website you can find a picture of Judge Dr. Schoen and a short profile (in German) from the time when he was an adviser to the Federal Patent Court's patent-specialized 10th Civil Senate.

I'm pretty sure that under Judge Dr. Schoen, the Seventh Civil Chamber's judicial philosophy will be the one that the court and this particular division are famous for. That said, I know that various parties and their outside counsel can't wait to see Judge Dr. Zigann presiding over some patent trials again. It will happen, but the UPC has to get started and then it will take some time until the first Munich cases are heard.