Germany is one of the most important patent litigation jurisdictions in Europe, making developments in its patent law very important to globally operating companies. In recent years, the number of cases regarding claims for the transfer of patents has risen steadily in Germany. If an application is filed by someone who is not entitled to the patent, the inventor (or his successor) can demand that the application or granted patent be transferred to him.
When does that transfer claim become time-barred: Three years, or thirty years after the application has been published? In a recent judgment, the Munich Regional Court discussed this question in considerable detail. The relevant period is just three years – a decision with significant implications. Companies need to be aware that they must enforce any such claims on an expedited time frame. Depending on the perspective (claimant or defendant?), this is good or bad news. In any event the Munich decision clarifies the legal situation.
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