Mitarbeiter der Kanzlei bei einer Mappenübergabe


März 2019


BREXIT and the ambiguous outcome of the EU summit in Brussels on March 21, 2019

There are only 8 days left until the initially planned exit of the UK from the EU on March 29, 2019.

At the EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 21, 2019, Great Britain and EU leaders discussed during the late afternoon and night whether and how to approve a request to delay the Brexit process submitted by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a shift of the Brexit until the end of June.

EU leaders initially announced that, according to a draft Summit Declaration, they would agree to a postponement until May 22, 2019.

However, this only under one principle condition, which has been suggested by EU Council President Donald Tusk: The UK parliament (British House of Commons) must accept the withdrawal agreement, already rejected twice, in the coming week. In addition, all EU27 countries must agree in detail to this postponement proposal. Otherwise, there is no basis for a delay of the Brexit.

Crucially, EU leaders discussed the possibility of dropping the suggestion by Tusk that any extension be conditional on the UK Parliament approving of May's withdrawal deal.

It also seems that European elections in May - and the April 11 deadline for Britain to declare whether it will be taking part in them - have been a complicating factor in the talks.

If Theresa May should not reach a third vote on the withdrawal agreement next week, or if the withdrawal agreement is rejected again in such a third vote, Britain would have time to announce by April 12 the latest whether the UK will participate in the EU elections. Otherwise, and as already called by France's President Emanuel Macron, UK and EU will in any case come to a No-Deal Brexit.

Consequently, a no-deal Brexit is not taken off the table.

We can take from that ambiguous outcome of the EU council meeting last night that the BREXIT date seems to be shifted at least until April 12.

Provided that UK's parliament approves the withdrawal agreement in a third vote within next week, still assuming that, in contrast to the decision of March 18, the Speaker John Bercow now allows such third vote on the withdrawal agreement to take place at all, and/or declares until April 12, 2019 the latest that UK will participate in the EU elections, there is a political willingness of the EU leaders to accept a longer delay of BREXIT with uncertain end dates; actually, there were rumors yesterday night talking about May 22, 2019, December 31, 2019 and even December 31, 2020 as the new date for the BREXIT.

Otherwise, it seems for now that we will face a No-Deal Brexit on April 12, 2019.

We will continue to keep you informed.

März 2019


PM Theresa May's plan for a third vote ends up in smoke - announcement of short Brexit delay until June 30, 2019 - French PM Macron tends to refuse delay

This week there have again been daily news from the UK regarding BREXIT.

PM Theresa May planned a third vote of UK's parliament regarding the withdrawal agreement by March 20, 2019.

However, on March 18, 2019 John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, ruled that the PM cannot bring her deal back for a third vote. An old rule of April 2, 1604 states that the House of Commons should not be asked to vote twice on exactly the same question ("without substantial changes") during a single parliamentary session. It is up to the Speaker to decide whether to allow any vote. Thus, it remains unclear whether or not a third vote will take place within the next days.

Unimpressed by these difficulties, PM May announced on March 20, 2019 in a letter to Donald Tusk (President of the European Council) her request for the extension of the time limit (cf. Art. 50 (3) TEU, second half of the sentence) for March 21, 2019 (the EU Council Summit is scheduled on that day).

Regarding the period of time for the delay, PM Theresa May plans to request a short extension of the time limit until June 30, 2019.

Such an extension will cause difficulties with the next European elections which will already take place between May 23 and 26, 2019. Although PM Theresa May is of the opinion that she can avoid a participation of the UK in the newly elected European Parliament with such a short extension of the time limit until June 30, 2019, there are doubts about her position in this regard.

As you may remember, the request for extension of the time limit under Article 50 TEU needs to be accepted unanimously by the Member States of the EU. However, unanimous approval is still not a clear thing. During the night of March 20, 2019, French PM Emanuel Macron announced that he tends to refuse a request for a delay of BREXIT with a veto from France if some relevant conditions (not explained in detail by him) will not be met.

If the EU Member States reject the request for the extension of the time limit, irrespective of whether a delay until June 30, 2019 or even until December 31, 2020 was requested, the result would still be a "No-Deal"-BREXIT on March 29, 2019.

Any other possibilities are explained in brief in the graphic representation in the following link taken from BBC's website.

März 2019


MPs support Brexit delay with unclear new time limit - second referendum rejected - new chances for UP&UPC with UK

This week there were several votes re Brexit in the UK parliament.

On March 12, 2019 the UK parliament voted 391 "No" to 242 "Yes" (for the second time) against the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU.

On March 13, 2019 the UK parliament voted 321 "No" to 278 "Yes" against a "No-Deal"-BREXIT, (i.e. leaving the EU on March 29, 2019 without any withdrawal agreement).

On March 14, 2019 the UK parliament voted 202 "No" to 412 "Yes" to request to extend the time limit for leaving the EU. However, until when the BREXIT will be delayed is unclear. PM Theresa May combines the question about the length of the delay with conditions.

She plans a third vote of UK's parliament regarding the withdrawal agreement by March 20, 2019 the latest. She also plans to present her request for the extension of time limit (cf. Art. 50 (3) TEU, second half of the sentence) around March 20 to 22, 2019, wherein March 21, 2019 seems to be plausible due to the EU Council Summit scheduled on that day.

Regarding the length of the delay, PM Theresa May plans to request a short extension of time limit until June 30, 2019, provided that UK's parliament approves the withdrawal agreement in the third vote on March 20, 2019. Although the next European elections, which give all adult EU citizens the opportunity to vote for who will represent them in the European Parliament, will already have taken place during May 23 to 26, 2019, the first constitutional meeting of the newly elected European Parliament is scheduled for around the end of June this year. Hence PM Theresa May thinks she can avoid a participation of the UK in the newly elected European Parliament with a short time-limit extension until June 30, 2019.

However, if the third vote about the withdrawal agreement should fail again, there are rumors that PM Theresa May may request a rather long extension of the time limit until December 31, 2020.

Please kindly note that there is no information available that PM Theresa May plans further negotiations with the EU in order to get an enhanced withdrawal agreement before March 20, 2019. Hence, it is difficult to imagine why the UK's parliament should now accept this withdrawal in a third vote after having rejected it during the first and second vote.

Moreover, the request for extension of the time limit under Article 50 TEU needs to be accepted unanimously by the Member States of the EU. However, the reactions of some Member States of the EU in the respective national press imply that an unanimous approval is not a clear thing.

If the Member States of the EU reject the request for the extension of the time limit, irrespective of whether a delay until June 30, 2019 or even until December 31, 2020 was requested, the result would be a "No-Deal"-BREXIT on March 29, 2019.

Despite this, there are no signals in the press that UK thinks about an exit from BREXIT with declaring a withdrawal of the former request to leave the EU (cf. decision of the ECJ in case No. C-621/18 regarding the legally theoretical possibility of ex parte withdrawing the BREXIT request without any statement of grounds).

Rather, on March 14, 2019 the UK parliament voted in a test vote with 334 "No" to 85 "Yes" (plus several abstentions) against a second referendum. Hence, there seems to be no real chance for the citizens of UK to explain with a second referendum how they now think about all this shemozzle.

Since every mess always contains some small glimmer of hope for positive outcomes - at least in the eyes of optimists - we can say that a delay of the BREXIT, even a short delay until June 30, 2019, would provide the German Constitutional Court with a little bit more time to decide about the pending constitutional complaint regarding the UPCA.

If the German Constitutional Court rejects said constitutional complaint as not admissible, and the German Government would hurry up and deposit its ratification document of the UPCA immediately, then we would still have a chance that the UP&UPC-project may start with the UK.

März 2019

European Intellectual Property Seminar Freising 2019

Unser Seminar wird dieses Jahr vom 6. bis 10. Oktober 2019 stattfinden.

Genauere Informationen folgen.

Februar 2019

Have your say: Public consultation on the EPO's Strategic Plan 2023

The public consultation on the EPO's Strategic Plan runs from January 23 to March 15, 2019 and is focussed on three topics:

1. Evolution of the patent system and future challenges
2. Delivering high quality products and services
3. Social responsibility and transparency

Download the EPO's Strategic Plan contribution template here.

Februar 2019

EPO study on patents and self-driving vehicles

A study published today, November 6, 2018 by the European Patent Office (EPO) reveals that innovation in self-driving vehicles (SDV) is accelerating fast and finds that patent protection strategies in the area of self-driving vehicle technology more closely resemble those in the information and communication (ICT) sector than those in the traditional automotive industry.

Februar 2019


Brexit – Konsequenzen für Inhaber geistigen Eigentums

Das Vereinigte Königreich (UK) trifft derzeit Vorbereitungen, um am 29. März 2019 aus der Europäischen Union auszutreten. Dieser BREXIT wird Konsequenzen haben und Inhaber von gewerblichen Schutzrechten, insbesondere von EU-Marken und EU-Designs, könnten in erheblichem Ausmaß davon betroffen sein. Aus diesem Grund haben wir die Entwicklungen hinsichtlich des anstehenden Austritts des UK aus der Europäischen Union und die diesbezüglichen Verhandlungen seit der entsprechenden Austrittsentscheidung stets verfolgt.

"Deal or no deal" – Austrittsvertrag, ja oder nein?

Nach dem Austritt hängt der Status davon ab, ob ein entsprechendes Abkommen zwischen dem UK und der EU erreicht werden kann. Im positiven Fall wird es eine weitere Übergangsphase geben, in welcher der derzeitige Status beibehalten und es nicht erforderlich sein wird, Marken oder Designs neu anzumelden.

Falls es kein Abkommen gibt, wird das Vereinigte Königreich kein Mitglied des EU-Marken- und EU-Designsystems mehr sein. Zum derzeitigen Zeitpunkt ist eine „no deal"-Situation zu befürchten.

Konsequenzen für Marken- und Designrechte im Falle eines Brexits ohne Abkommen

Die Behörden des UK (Regierung und UKIPO (UK Amt für geistiges Eigentum)) haben stets versichert, dass eine automatische Umwandlung von EU-Eintragungen in ein gleichwertiges nationales UK Recht erfolgen wird. Diese Behörden haben ebenfalls zugesagt, dass Anmelder von anhängigen Anmeldungen einen Antrag auf Umwandlung in eine UK-Anmeldung stellen können – voraussichtlich innerhalb von neun Monaten. In Anbetracht dessen scheint keine dringende Notwendigkeit für Neuanmeldungen von EU-Marken und/oder EU-Designs im Vereinigten Königreich gegeben, selbst im Falle eines „no deal"-Szenarios.

Unsere Empfehlung

Ein BREXIT ohne Abkommen scheint immer wahrscheinlicher und niemand kann die weitere Entwicklung wirklich einschätzen. Darüber hinaus bleibt abzuwarten, ob die damaligen Versprechungen der UK Regierung auch tatsächlich eingehalten werden. Deshalb empfehlen wir allen Inhabern von EU-Marken und EU-Designs, ihre Position im Vereinigten Königreich gründlich zu überprüfen.

Um Rechtssicherheit zu erlangen, insbesondere hinsichtlich Benutzung/Nichtbenutzung und Durchsetzung der Schutzrechte, wäre daher eine separate nationale Anmeldung Ihrer anhängigen EU-Marke(n) und/oder EU-Designs, mit der jegliches Risiko eines möglichen Schutzrechts- oder Datenverlusts vermieden werden könnte, erwägenswert.

Bei Rückfragen stehen wir Ihnen jederzeit zur Verfügung. Gerne sind wir Ihnen - insbesondere im Zusammenhang mit Anmeldungen von Marken oder Designs im Vereinigten Königreich - behilflich.

Dezember 2018

Nutzerbefragung zur zeitlichen Flexibilisierung des Prüfungsprozesses - Einführung einer aufgeschobenen Sachprüfung

Das Europäische Patentamt lädt alle Interessenten ein, an einer Online-Befragung teilzunehmen, in der es um eine zeitliche Flexibilisierung des Prüfungsprozesses durch eine mögliche Aufschiebung der Sachprüfung europäischer Patentanmeldungen geht.

Die Details finden Sie hier.

Mai 2018

European Intellectual Property Seminar Japan 2018

Die Details finden Sie hier.

Mai 2018

UPC Update - UK ratifiziert das Europäische Patentgericht (kommentiert von Rainer K. Kuhnen)

Was lange unsicher schien, ist am 26.04.2018 geschehen: Großbritannien hat das geplante Übereinkommen über das einheitliche Patentgericht (UPC) ratifiziert. Damit geht Großbritannien einen wichtigen Schritt, um an dem geplanten Europäischen Einheitspatent teilnehmen zu können. Angesichts der unsicheren Aussichten hinsichtlich der Konditionen, zu denen Großbritannien im März 2019 ausscheidet, erscheint dieser Schritt zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt nur folgerichtig, sichert es doch Großbritannien zumindest vorübergehend die Teilnahme am neuen europäischen Einheitspatentsystem.

Damit steht dem Inkrafttreten des neuen Einheitspatentsystem nur noch das Deutsche Bundesverfassungsgericht im Wege, auf das sich nunmehr alle Blicke richten. Wie bekannt, ist dort derzeit eine Verfassungsbeschwerde gegen die Ratifizierung des Übereinkommens über das einheitliche Patentgericht anhängig, weshalb die Ratifizierung Deutschlands derzeit noch nicht vollzogen werden kann.

Diese Verfassungsbeschwerde kommt nicht unerwartet, gab und gibt es in den Fachkreisen durchaus Zweifel an dem rechtlichen Fundament des neuen europäischen Einheitspatentsystem. Aber angesichts des enormen politischen Drucks von allen Seiten, scheint es mehr als fraglich, ob nun ausgerechnet das Deutsche Bundesverfassungsgericht aufgrund einer Einzelklage eines Rechtsanwalts aus Deutschland die jahrzehntelangen Bemühungen um ein „europäisches Patent" mit einheitlicher Gerichtsbarkeit buchstäblich in letzter Sekunde stoppen will, weil es verfassungsrechtliche Bedenken hat.

Wenn das Deutsche Bundesverfassungsgericht Mitte diesen Jahres über die Verfassungsbeschwerde entscheidet, wissen wir mehr. Bis dahin bleibt es spannend.