Monday, 15 September 2014

Broad Claims with narrow support – Vorrichtung zur Schwingungserzeugung

The decision 4 Ni 16/11 of the 4th senate of the Bundespatentgericht (BPatG) is worthwhile noting because it approaches the jurisdiction of the BPatG with a jurisdiction of the Technical Boards of Appeal of the EPO.

The patent subject to the nullity action had claimed a direct power transmission of power created by reaction torques (reactive power) using servo motors in a very general way. The claim was much broader than the specific solution described in the documents as a whole, which described a hydraulic solution without overlapping drive.

The Court finds that the generalized solution of the claim is no longer represented by the disclosed way of solving the problem and that, as a consequence, the patent protection extended beyond the contribution of the invention to the prior art. As a consequence, the requirement of the enabling disclosure is not met (§ 21, paragraph 1, number 2 and § 22, paragraph 1 PatG).

BPatG notes that the balancing assessment (wertende Betrachtung) should account for the facts that the electronic solution - which was covered by the claim but not disclosed in an enabling way - does not only require an autonomous technical development starting from the prior art but further that this embodiment has considerable economic importance and that the patentee had explicitly noted the existence of such an embodiment engrafting the application and claimed this alternative embodiment in a dependent claim without, however, being able to disclose a way to reproduce the embodiment.

After “Okklusionsvorrichtung” and “Diglycidverbindung”, this is a further example of the case where the abstract mentioning of possible embodiments without detailed support is detrimental rather than helpful for the scope of protection.
The full text (in German) can be found here, the headnote here.

Posted by. M. Thesen

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