Washington, D.C. Location
(1) There shall be established a Patent Court as an autonomous and independent federal court for hearing appeals from decisions of the Examining Sections or Patent Divisions of the Patent Office and actions for declaration of nullity of patents and for compulsory licenses (Sections 81, 85). It shall have its seat at the seat of the Patent Office. It shall be designated the “Federal Patent Court”.
(2) The Patent Court shall consist of a President, presiding judges and other judges. They must possess the qualifications required for judicial office under the German Law Relating to Judges (legal members) or must be experts in branch of technology (technical members). For the technical members, Section 26(2) shall be applicable mutatis mutandis provided they have passed a State or academic final examination.
(3) Judges shall be appointed for life by the Federal President, except where otherwise provided in Section 7l.
(4) The President of the Patent Court shall exercise official supervision over judges, officials, employees and workers.
(1) There shall be established in the Patent Court
l. chambers for hearing appeals (Chambers of Appeal);
2. chambers for deciding actions for declaration of nullity of patents and for compulsory licenses (Nullity Chambers).
(2) The number of chambers shall be determined by the Federal Minister for Justice.
(1) Chambers of Appeal shall decide cases under Sections 23(4) and 50(1) and (2) in the composition of one legal member as presiding judge and two technical members, in cases under Section 73(3) and Sections 130, 131 and 133, in the composition of one technical member as presiding judge, two additional technical members and one legal member, in cases under Section 31(5) in the composition of one legal member as presiding judge, one additional legal member and one technical member and in other cases in the composition of three legal members.
(2) Nullity Chambers shall decide in cases under Sections 84 and 85(3) in the composition of one legal member as presiding judge, one additional legal member and three technical members and in other cases in the composition of three judges of whom one must be a legal member.
The provisions of Part 2 of the Judiciary Law [Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz] shall apply to the Patent Court with the following provisos:
1. where election does not result in a presiding judge and a further judge who are legal members, the presiding judge and further judge being legal members who obtain the most votes from the legal members shall be considered elected;
2. disputes concerning election (Section 21b(6) of the Judiciary Law) shall be heard by a Chamber of the Patent Court consisting of three judges being legal members;
3. the Federal Minister for Justice shall appoint the permanent substitute of the President.
(1) Proceedings before the Chambers of Appeal shall be public if notice of the possibility of inspecting the files under Section 32(5) has been given or if the patent specification has been published under Section 58(1). Sections 172 to 175 of the Judiciary Law shall be applicable, mutatis mutandis, with the proviso that
1. at the request of one of the parties, the public may also be excluded from the proceedings if publicity threatens to endanger the interests worthy of protection of the party making the request;
2. the public shall be excluded from the pronouncement of the decisions until publication of a notice of the possibility of inspecting the files under Section 32(5) or until publication of the patent specification under Section 58(1).
(2) The proceedings before the Nullity Chambers, including the pronouncement of decisions, shall be public. The second sentence of subsection (1), item 1, shall be applicable mutatis mutandis.
(3) The maintenance of order in the sessions of the Chambers shall be the responsibility of the presiding judge. Sections 177 to 180, 182 and 183 of the Judiciary Law relating to the maintenance of order in court shall be applicable mutatis mutandis.
(1) Decisions in the Chambers shall be made on the basis of deliberation and the taking of votes. In such cases, only the number of members of the Chambers prescribed by law may participate. During the deliberation and voting there may be present, in addition to the members of the Chambers, only persons employed at the Patent Court for training purposes, provided that the presiding judge permits them to be present.
(2) The decisions of the Chambers shall require a majority vote; if the votes are equally divided, the presiding judge shall have the casting vote.
(3) The members of the Chambers shall vote according to seniority of service and, seniority of service being equal, according to age, the younger voting before the older. If a recording judge has been appointed, he shall vote first. The presiding judge shall vote last.
(1) Judges may be employed at the Patent Court on temporary appointment. The third sentence of Section 65(2) shall be applicable.
(2) Judges appointed on a temporary basis and temporarily delegated judges may not preside.
There shall be established at the Patent Court a registrar’s office, which shall be staffed by the necessary number of registrars. The establishment of the office shall be determined by the Federal Minister for Justice.