German Courts must consider parallel decisions

In a decision of December 2, 2014 („Sitzplatznummerierungseinrichtung“ X ZB 1/13), the German Federal Supreme Court has confirmed its case law saying that German Courts have to consider parallel decisions of the European Patent Office and Courts of Member States of the European Patent Convention. A non-compliance with this requirement can be a violation of a party’s right to be heard. In the case in question, the German Federal Patent Court has revoked a German Utility Model which was based on a divisional application of a European patent application. The European patent application resulted in an identical parallel European Patent, the validity of which has been finally confirmed by an Opposition Division of the European Patent Office. The German Federal Supreme Court did not see a violation of the party’s right to be heard, because in the reasons of the German Federal Patent Court’s decision, the considerations of the European Patent Office have been properly dealt with.