A series of changes to the German intellectual property laws was recently passed by the German parliament. The reforms enter into force on 1 October 2009.
Of greatest importance are the changes to the patent law regarding patent invalidity proceedings. The changes aim at speeding up the process by limiting the possibility of making changes to the patent at a late stage and filing other submissions, which could delay the proceedings.
The changes also affect the Employees’ Invention Act, thus providing that employee inventions belong to the employer unless the employer declares otherwise within four months from the notification of the invention. Presently, the employer is required to actively claim exclusive or non-exclusive right over the invention whereas with the new reform no action is required by the employer.
The new patent law also entails changes to the costs of filing new patent applications. The fee for filing a patent application electronically will be reduced. However, at the same time claim fees will be introduced and filing more than ten claims will result in an additional fee for each claim exceeding ten claims.
The EU Paediatric Regulation will also be implemented. The regulation provides an addition to the regulation on Supplementary Protection Certificates, which allow for extensions of the term of Patents relating to medicinal products. The Paediatric Regulation provides the possibility of an extra six months extension of the Supplementary Protection Certificates if a paediatric investigation plan for the medicinal product in question is approved.
Jakob Leffland Reimers, Associate