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German patent courts and appeals
This article describes which bodies handle approval, rejection, and disputes of patent validity in Germany.
 The highest courts
- BGH = Bundesgerichtshof = Federal Court of Justice
- BVerfG = Bundesverfassungsgericht = Constitutional Court
- BPatG = Bundespatentgericht = Federal Patent Court
The BGH is the most important for patents. When it announces a decision, it waits a month or more before publishing the full text of the decision with the details and reasons.
No one seems to talk about the BVerfG. A US judge said that the BVerfG can't review BGH decisions on patents. Other sources indicate that it could review a BGH decision, but only if there was a doubt as to compatibility with the Constitution. There seems to be no discussion of this being useful in cases of software patents, so the BVerfG seems unlikely to be useful against pro-software-patent BGH decisions.
Not sure about the BPatG. Maybe it's the court directly below the BGH?
Note: Some experts use the name "German Supreme Court" for the BGH, but others use that term for the BVerfG. To avoid ambiguity, it's probably best to simply avoid the word "Supreme" when trying to translate the names of these courts.
(While this article is waiting for better info, this will have to do.)
When the German judge talked he pointed out that although he’s on the German Supreme Court, they have specialization within their court, and he’s part of the Tenth Senate which does all the IP cases, and only IP cases. And the only higher court in Germany is the so-called Constitutional Court, and it’s not allowed to hear patent cases. And therefore, it can’t overrule or tinker with the law developed by the German Supreme Courts Patent Senate.
 Related pages on en.swpat.org
- Case law in Germany
- Reading case law
- Siemens ruling by German BGH on 22 April 2010
- Microsoft FAT ruling by German BGH on 20 April 2010
- BGH website (English)
- German Federal Supreme Court strengthens the significance of EPO’s and foreign courts’ decisions, June 9th 2010
- Judiciary of Germany, Wikipedia
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