Employees of the patent firm

Current news

18. February 2022


Two years after the last fee increase in April 2020, the European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that it will increase office fees by an average of 2.5% from April 1, 2022.

The fees with the largest increase (~3%) include filing and renewal fees, while additional page fees, international search fees, and further processing of delayed payments will remain at current levels.
Most official fees paid on or after April 1, 2022 will be calculated at the new rate. Applicants can therefore save money by paying fees early, before the fee increase deadline of April 1, 2022, even if the official fee payment due date is later in the year. Some fee payments (e.g., examination fees and annual fees) may be made several months before the official due date. Therefore, it may be worthwhile for applicants to review their patent portfolios now to determine which fee payments are due in the next few months.

In particular, early entry into the European regional phase (i.e., before April 1, 2022) offers the highest potential savings. This can save applicants up to €115 per application (approximately 3% of the official fees).
Therefore, it may be worthwhile for applicants to examine their pending PCT applications now to decide whether to enter the European regional phase early to benefit from the cost savings.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@kuhnen-wacker.com

20. January 2022


Effective January 18, 2022, Austria (as the thirteenth Member State) finally deposited with the Council of the EU its instrument of ratification of the Protocol on the Provisional Application (PPA) of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA).

Following the Austrian ratification, the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, in its role as Depository, today declared that the Protocol has entered into force, marking the start of the Provisional Application Period (PAP) and the birth of the Unified Patent Court as an international organization.

Taking into account that the Preparatory Committee has estimated that the preparations may take about 8 months and that the EPO will also make final preparations for the introduction of the unitary patent, odds are pretty good that the UP&UPC system will begin in the last quarter of 2022 or in early 2023.

Also refer to
Austria closes the loop – the Protocol on Provisional Application of the UPC Agreement has entered into force | Unified Patent Court (unified-patent-court.org) and Agreement - Consilium (europa.eu).

01. December 2021


A new publication with questions and answers concerning designs by Christian Thomas was
published on the Lexology GTDT's platform. Have fun reading.

11. November 2021


We are happy that JUVE Patent recommended us for patent applications in technical fields.
Here you can see the ranking including the firm analysis.

25. October 2021

Key issues in enforcing software patents

an article by Michael Zeitler in the IAM Magazine, Global Patent Litigation 2022.

21. September 2021


You would like to get an overview of European patent practice, from the comfort of your workplace or home? You would like to avoid the most serious pitfalls in EP patent prosecution? You have fundamental questions about the EP system that you have always wanted to ask proven EP experts?

Then take the opportunity and register now for our 31st European Intellectual Property WebSeminar on October 5 and 6. We look forward to welcoming you!

21. July 2021


This year, our Seminar in cooperation with WIPO and UIC John Marshall Law School, will take place on October 8, 2021 in the form of an online Seminar. Details can be found here.

14. July 2021


With its press release of July 9, 2021, the German Constitutional Court announced that it has rejected two applications for a preliminary injunction against the German UPC laws.
In its reasoning, the Court states that the constitutional complaints lodged in the principal proceedings are inadmissible as the complainants failed to sufficiently assert and substantiate a possible violation of their fundamental rights.
This decision clears the way for Germany to ratify the UPC.
Bundesverfassungsgericht - Press - Unsuccessful applications for preliminary injunction against the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court

Alexander Ramsay (Chairman of the UPC's Preparatory Committee) appreciates this decision.
German Federal Constitutional Court declares complaints against UPCA's ratification Bill inadmissible | Unified Patent Court (unified-patent-court.org)

One next step is signing the bill for ratification of the Agreement for depositing the instrument of ratification at the registrar of the UPC in Luxembourg.

Another step is the approval of further two member states of the UP&UPC-System to be bound by the Protocol on the Provisional Application Phase (PAP) in order for the project to move into its final phase.

Further, there is a need to pass through said PAP of about 6 (rather 8) months to get everything ready for implementing the UPC.
Maybe the PAP begins in winter this year.
Moreover, the UPC will start operation 4 months after Germany deposited its instrument of ratification.
Thus, it seems imaginable that Germany is going to deposit its ratification document during summer/autumn 2022 and that the UPC may start operation around the end of 2022.

12. July 2021


German Patent Law Modernized

The legislative procedure for the Second Patent Law Simplification and Modernisation Act (PatModG) has now been completed and will thus enter into force after its promulgation. The Act was preceded by months of intense controversial debates.

A central change is the amendment to Section 139 of the Patent Act, which was a particular focus of public discussion. This amendment introduces an examination of the proportionality of the injunctive relief in infringement proceedings. Even though many participants in the discussion argue that this merely transfers a proportionality test, which is already anchored in the German Code of Civil Procedure, to the Patent Act and thus does not change the legal situation as also established by the Federal Supreme Court in the "Wärmetauscher" (heat exchanger) decision" issued 10th May 2016 (X ZR 114/13), the reliability and efficiency of German patent law is to be feared. For liability reasons alone, the representatives of the alleged infringers will (have to) always raise the objection of proportionality, so that the infringement process will be extended by another point of dispute and gain in complexity. The advocates of a fundamental proportionality test thus want to put a stop to so-called patent trolls (non-practicing entities).

In our opinion, the text of the law that has now been adopted sufficiently expresses the rule-exception relationship (injunctive relief versus disproportionate and unreasonable hardship). In our opinion, the hurdles for an exception to the right to injunctive relief are set high: for each individual case it must be examined whether the right to injunctive relief would lead to an "unreasonable hardship not justified by the exclusive right". The requirement of good faith and any interests of third parties must also be taken into account.

To compensate for the restriction of the right to injunctive relief, the right to damages for the patent proprietor receives a compensatory claim in the form of appropriate compensation.

We will see how this amendment then actually plays out in practice.

As another important change, welcome procedural provisions for the protection of trade secrets have been included in the Patent Act. Thus, infringement proceedings can be conducted efficiently and with sufficient transparency, even if the parties' trade secrets are to be protected.

We would also like to highlight the planned synchronisation of nullity proceedings before the Federal Patent Court and infringement proceedings before the civil courts. The so-called Injunction Gap is to be closed by procedural means. Here, too, we will see what effect this change will have in practice.

The extension of the time limit for initiating the national phase at the DPMA from PCT applications from 30 to 31 months and thus a synchronisation with the time limit provided by the EPO should also not go unmentioned.