The German Federal Supreme Court rejects requests for late filing

In a decision of December 15, 2015 (X ZR 111/13 „Telekommunikationsverbindung“) the German Federal Supreme Court has rejected auxiliary requests which the patentee has submitted in order to defend his patent as being late filed. Subject matter of these auxiliary requests were sub-claims which were referred back to the main claim. In the first instance at the German Federal Patent Court the patentee has defended his patent “in the version as granted”. The first instance judgment contained reasons why the sub-claims are not based on an own inventive step. The German Federal Supreme Court has now decided that defending the main claim in combination with sub-claims in appeal proceedings is a new line of defence which has been rejected for being late filed. The decision is harsh and has, in practice, the consequence that the patentee must already in the first instance formulate his auxiliary requests in a specific manner and defend them in a specific line of argumentation.