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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 and 8 November 2013
Patents: Infringement under the
doctrine of equivalence
- Germany Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Patents: Infringement under the
doctrine of equivalence
- Germany –
1.
2.
3.
Legal provisions
Principles and case law
Defences
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Lady Remington Liberty
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
„Epilady“ (ca. 1991)
Apparatus for hair removal
(Dispositif d‘epilation)
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Device for removing a tick
(Dispositif pour enlever une tique)
Düsseldorf District Court, decision of 15 September 2011
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
EP 1 424 917: Device for removing a tick
(Dispositif pour enlever une tique)
a
b
c
d
e
f
A device being designed with a slit (36, 54, 50),
for use in removing a tick …,
characterised in that
the device is adapted for keeping in wallet, pocket, bag or
similar place,
said device being designed as a credit card in size,
said card is made of a relatively stiff material …, and
said card has a corner area being designed with the slit
(36, 54, 50) … .
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Alleged infringing device
(not absolutely exactly)
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
European Patent Convention 2000
Article 2
(2) The European patent shall… have the effect of
and be subject to the same conditions as a
national patent …, unless this Convention provides
otherwise.
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
German national patents
German courts: no difference between national
and European patents regarding the determination
of the extent of protection.
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
European Patent Convention 2000
Article 69
(1) The extent of the protection conferred by a
European patent … shall be determined by the
claims. Nevertheless, the description and
drawings shall be used to interpret the claims.
= § 14 German Patent Act
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
European Patent Convention 2000
Protocol on the Interpretation of Article 69
Article 1
General principles
Article 69 should not be interpreted as meaning that the extent of the protection
conferred by a European patent is to be understood as that defined by the strict,
literal meaning of the wording used in the claims, the description and drawings
being employed only for the purpose of resolving an ambiguity found in the
claims. Nor should it be taken to mean that the claims serve only as a guideline
and that the actual protection conferred may extend to what, from a
consideration of the description and drawings by a person skilled in the art, the
patent proprietor has contemplated. On the contrary, it is to be interpreted as
defining a position between these extremes which combines a fair protection for
the patent proprietor with a reasonable degree of legal certainty for third
parties.
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
European Patent Convention 2000
Protocol on the Interpretation of Article 69
Article 2
Equivalents
For the purpose of determining the extent of
protection conferred by a European patent, due
account shall be taken of any element which is
equivalent to an element specified in the claims.
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
EP 1 424 917
Drawing
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
EP 1 424 917
Description
[0011] The device according to the invention is so
designed that … the card e.g. in a corner area is
made with a… slit … .
[0017] The disclosed slit … may alternatively, or as
a supplement, also be provided at a short side of
the card.
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
EP 1 424 917: State of the art
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
German courts:
Two types of infringement
„Literal“
(wortsinngemäß)
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
equivalent
(äquivalent)
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Extent of Protection
„Literal“
(wortsinngemäß)
equivalent
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
„Literal“ infringement
Not just the literalistic wording of the
claim („Wortlaut“), but the semantic
content to the person skilled in the art
(„Wortsinn“),
The patent specification provides its own
lexicon.
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Equivalence: 3 step test
since „Schneidmesser“-decisions of the Federal Court of Justice in 2002
1.
Same effect (Gleichwirkung)
2.
Obviousness (Naheliegen)
3.
Equal value (Gleichwertigkeit)
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
First step: same effect (Gleichwirkung)
Does the modified embodiment solve
the problem underlying the invention
with means that have objectively the
same technical effect?
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
First step: same effect (Gleichwirkung)
„Literal“ version
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Alleged infringing device
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
First step: same effect (Gleichwirkung)
… same effect only, if the modified solution not only
essentially achieves the overall effect of the invention, but
also achieves the specific effect intended by the not
literally realized feature.
Where minimum requirements as to the quantity or
quality of a certain effect arise from the interpretation of
the patent claim, then modified means not satisfying
those requirements cannot be considered to achieve the
same technical effect under the aspect of an inferior
embodiment ….
German Federal Court of Justice, decision of 17 July 2012 „Pallet Container III“
(„Pallettenbehälter III“)
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AIPPI seminar
„Literal“ version
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
Paris, 7 November 2013
Alleged infringing device
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Second step: Obviousness (Naheliegen)
Was the person skilled in the art, using his
specialist knowledge, able to find the variant
at the priority date as having the same
effect?
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Second step: Obviousness (Naheliegen)
At the priority date.
But:
“There may be equivalent patent infringement if the
alternative means as such was not known at the
priority date, because it was not made available until
through the further advances in technical
development.“ (Düsseldorf High Court, InstGE 10, 198
- "Zeitversetztes Fernsehen")
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AIPPI seminar
„Literal“ version
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
Paris, 7 November 2013
Alleged infringing device
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Third step: Equal value (Gleichwertigkeit)
Are the considerations that the person
skilled in the art had to apply oriented to
the technical teaching of the patent claim
in such a way that the person skilled in the
art took the variant into account as being
an equal value solution?
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Third step: Equal value (Gleichwertigkeit)
„The aforementioned responsibility of the patent holder to
ensure that what he desires protection for is set out in the
features of the patent claim therefore restricts the
protection to what is to be related to the semantic content
of its patent claims
also in such cases in which the holder – for whatever
reasons – has missed this opportunity and the patent, if
considered objectively, remains less than a more
extensive technical content of the invention.“
Federal Court of Justice, decision of 12 March 2002 „Schneidmesser II“
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Third step: Equal value (Gleichwertigkeit)
If the description discloses a number of ways in
which a specific technical effect can be achieved,
but only one of these ways is included in the
patent claim,
the use of one of the other ways does not, as a
rule, constitute an infringement of the patent
with equivalent means.
Federal Court of Justice, decision of 10 May 2011 “Occlusion Device”
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AIPPI seminar
„Literal“ version
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
Paris, 7 November 2013
Alleged infringing device
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
EP 1 424 917
Description
[0011] The device according to the invention is so
designed that … the card e.g. in a corner area is
made with a mainly acutely angled slit or cut … .
[0017] The disclosed slit … may alternatively, or as
a supplement, also be provided at a short side of
the card.
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Third step: Equal value (Gleichwertigkeit)
If the description discloses a number of ways in which a
specific technical effect can be achieved, but only one of
these ways is included in the patent claim,
an infringement with equivalent means can only be
assumed if the modified solution distinguishes from the
solution that is shown in the description, but not in the
patent claim, in a similar way like the “literal solution”.
Federal Court of Justice, decision of 13 September 2011 “Diglycidyl
Compounds” (Diglycidverbindung)
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Equivalence: Defences
- „Formstein“-objection
- Prosecution history?
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Federal Court of Justice, decision of 29 April 1986
„Formstein“
Formstein am Straßenrand (pierre moulée à bas-côté)
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Defences: „Formstein“-objection
Does the modified embodiment, having regard to the
state of the art, lack novelty, or is it obvious to a
person skilled in the art?
The Patent Office only examines whether the „literal“ subject
matter of the patent is patentable. The same is true for patent
opposition and nullity proceedings. Therefore the „Formstein“examination has to be carried out in infringement proceedings.
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
EP 1 424 917: State of the art
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Defences: Prosecution history?
In the past, the Federal Court of Justice:
the prosecution history may not to be taken into
account when construing a patent unless events of the
prosecution history show up in the patent specification
as granted or amended after grant
(see decision of 12 March 2002 ”plastic pipe part”; also see the report of
the German national group of AIPPI regarding Q229).
In its “Occlusion Device” decision of 10 May 2011 , the
Federal Court of Justice had expressly left open the
question if the publication of the application could be
taking into account when construing a patent.
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Defences: Prosecution history
Development?
Federal Court of Justice, decision of 17 July 2012
“Polymer Foam” (nullity proceedings):
A comparison of the patent specification with the
publication of the patent application could, at the most,
come into consideration if there are contradictions
between the description and the claims and such a
comparison can contribute to the clarification of the
scope of a limitation made during the grant procedure or
in opposition proceedings.
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Merci beaucoup!
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
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AIPPI seminar
Paris, 7 November 2013
Dr. Karsten Königer, Dipl.-Phys.
Rechtsanwalt / Attorney at Law
Harmsen Utescher
Neuer Wall 80
20354 Hamburg
Germany
Phone +49 40 376 90 90
Fax +49 40 376 90 999
[email protected]
www.harmsen.utescher.com
Karsten Koeniger, Harmsen Utescher
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