EPLAW PATENT BLOG

CH – New Swiss Federal Patent Court expected to start operations in 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2010

Swiss

The new Swiss Federal Patent Court is expected to start operations in 2011 and has interesting transitory provisions, with thanks to Michael Kikinis, KIKINIS Law Firm

Recently, the Federal Council of Switzerland (the Swiss government) decided to enact the provisions regarding the institution and organization of the new Swiss Federal Patent Court as of 01 March 2010. It is expected that the judges will be elected in spring 2010, and the new Court is expected to start operations in 2011 (simultaneously with the coming into effect of the new unified Swiss Civil Procedure Law), first in Berne, and later (probably starting in 2012) in St. Gallen.

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On March 20, 2009, the two chambers of the Swiss parliament approved the final version of the new Swiss Federal Patent Court Law. The new Swiss Federal Patent Court will serve as the court of first instance in patent matters for the whole territory of Switzerland, replacing thus the courts in each of the 26 Swiss Cantons which are so far competent in such matters. The competence of the court in patent matters includes actions for alleged infringement of patents as well as the validity of patents. Thus, it will continue to be possible in Switzerland to have the validity and infringement of a patent decided (as counterclaims) simultaneously by one court. Furthermore, the new court will also be competent for actions regarding the granting of patent licenses and other litigations in connection with patents, such as e.g. regarding the ownership of patents and the assignment of patents. Also, the new court will be competent for injunctions in such patent matters and for enforcement of its decisions.

On December 14, 2009, the Federal Council of Switzerland (the Swiss government) decided to enact the provisions regarding the institution and organization of the new Swiss Federal Patent Court as of 01 March 2010. It is expected that the judges will be elected in spring 2010, and the new Court is expected to start operations in 2011 (simultaneously with the coming into effect of the new unified Swiss Civil Procedure Law), first in Berne, and later (probably starting in 2012) in St. Gallen.

The new Swiss Federal Patent Court will start its operations with a considerable workload: a transitory provision of the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law provides for the transfer of all patent litigation cases which are already pending in first instance at cantonal courts (which are competent so far for these cases) to the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law if the "main hearing" has not been held yet at the time when the new court start its operations. Whether the "main hearing" in this sense has been held, will have to be determined pursuant to the present Cantonal Civil Procedure Laws. The Swiss Federal Patent Court will have to observe the respective Cantonal Civil Procedure Law in such cases it takes over at the beginning of its operations.

It is expected that the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law will be able to handle patent litigation cases with more experience and considerably faster than the cantonal courts which are competent so far for handling such cases. As the court will include not only judges with legal expertise, but also judges with various technical backgrounds, such judges with technical backgrounds should allow the new court in many cases to avoid retaining external expert counsels. In the new Swiss Federal Patent Court, it will be possible to use not only the official Swiss languages (German, French and Italian), but also English if the court and the parties agree.

Read the text of the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law (in German) here.
Read the text of the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law (in French) here.
Read the text of the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law (in Italian) here.

Read the press release regarding the partial enactment of the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law (in German) here.
Read the press release regarding the partial enactment of the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law (in French) here.
Read the press release regarding the partial enactment of the Swiss Federal Patent Court Law (in Italian) here.

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