Tuesday, 7 February 2012

E-Justice at the Bundespatentgericht

In every trial in patent matters at the Bundespatengericht (BPatG) this blogger has been attending to, there was sooner or later a situation where somebody tried to explain something by pointing at features of a figure in one of the documents. What happens then is that everybody leaves his bench or desk to bow over the document such that all of a sudden, the orderly procedure collapses and turns into a gesticulating crowd of at least six or seven technically qualified poeple trying to explain something.

This was one of the annoyances - besides of old cars and potholes on the German Autobahn - the Government attacked when trying to find possibilities to spend money on for its stimulus package in the begining of the still ongoing financial crisis in 2009. See infromation on the BPatG website and press release.

As of November last year, the Bundespatentgericht (BPatG) in Munich has provided two of its courtrooms with electronic equipment enabling the sharing of electronic documents between the parties and the judges. Furhter, there is a video camera mounted on a stand over one of the tables such that both a document and the finger of a person pointing on it can be filmed and displayed on the monitors provided at the judges bench, the attorney's desks and (a big one) on the wall.

After a report on GermanIP, pointing to the regretful situation that it is difficult for the parties to predict whether or not a particular trial will be held in a traditional courtroom or in the "electronic courtruoom", Presiding Judge Dr. Norbert Mayer (20th Senate and responsible for the BPatG's e-justice programme) has informed us that the 19th, 20th and 23th senates (Technical Appeals) use the electronic coutrooms (Rooms No. 6 and 4) on a regular basis. The 5th Senate (Nullity) uses one of the rooms if it is sitting with technical members of the 20th senate. Furhter information may be found in Dr. Mayer's article in "Mitteilungen der Deutschen Patentanwälte" issue 7/8, 2011.

The big courtroom ("Kapelle") in the 5th floor will be electronically equipped within this year and may be used (just as the Rooms 6 and 4) by other senates if necessary and if the room is available.

The Bar Organization of the German Paten Attorneys, the "Patentanwaltskammer" is about to organize an introduction to the new technical possibilities together with Dr. Mayer.

No comments: