In January, I blogged several times about the BMJV's (German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection's) draft of a proposed set of amendments to the German Patent Act. (See here, here, here, and here.) Among the proposals is an amendment to § 139 para. 1, which would add the sentence in boldface:
Wer entgegen den §§ 9 bis 13 eine patentierte Erfindung benutzt, kann von dem Verletzten bei Wiederholungsgefahr auf Unterlassung in Anspruch genommen werden. Der Anspruch besteht auch dann, wenn eine Zuwiderhandlung erstmalig droht. Der Anspruch ist ausgeschlossen, soweit die Durchsetzung des Unterlassungsanspruchs unverhältnismäßig ist, weil sie aufgrund besonderer Umstände unter Beachtung des Interesses des Patentinhabers gegenüber dem Verletzer und der Gebote von Treu und Glauben eine durch das Ausschließlichkeitsrecht nicht gerechtfertigte Härte darstellt.
In English, the highlighted portion says:
The claim [to injunctive relief] is precluded, insofar as the enforcement of a claim to injunctive relief is disproportionate because, due to special circumstances and taking into account the interest of the patent holder against the the infringer and the obligation to act in good faith, enforcement of the right of exclusion would present an unjustified hardship.
The BMJV is soliciting comments through March 10. Meanwhile, here's some recent commentary from scholars and other pundits:
1. Martin Stierle has published a paper in the March 2020 issue of GRUR (pp. 262-67) titled Discussionsentwurf eines Zweiten Gestezes zur Vereinfachung und Modernisierung des Patentrechts: Ein erster Schritt in die richtige Richtung ("Discussion draft of a second law for the simplification and modernization of patent law: A step in the right direction"). Here is the abstract, in my translation from the German:
In mid-January, the BMJV presented the Discussion Draft of a Second Law for the Simplification and Modernization of Patent Law. Quite significantly, the therein proposed implementation of a proportionality condition in § 139 I of the Patent Law sticks out. The present essay sketches out the origin of the Discussion Draft, and critically engages the proposals that concern patent infringement actions. The main focus of the analysis rests on the suggested proportionality condition for a claim to an injunction. The conclusion is in principle positive, but with regard to certain details critical.
Professor Stierle suggests, among other things, that the parallel provision in the Utility Model Law should be similarly amended (p.263); that, rather than simply trying to insert the holding of the Wärmetauscher decision (which authorizes stays of injunction under some limited circumstances) into the statute, the legislature should modify the wording to clarify that the ground for staying an injunction is the patent owner's impermissible exercise of its rights; that it be made clear that the patent owner may be compensated for the period of time it is denied an injunction; and that courts should be allowed to directly take third-party interests into account.
2. Several blogs have been keeping track of reactions to the proposed amendment. Florian Mueller has an interesting post titled German patent litigators comment on minimal (if any) impact of proposed reform bill on patent injunctions, on FOSS Patents. On the more pro-injunction side are posts by Matthieu Klos on JUVE Patent ("Car industry can be content with patent law compromise"), and Haris Tsilikas on IAM ("Cause for concern in German patent reform proposals").
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