Nullity & Cancellation
Nullity proceedings offer the opportunity to enfeeble the basis of an infringement complaint by limiting or completely revoking the underlying patent. Cancellation proceedings for utility models, trademarks, and designs serve the same purpose.
In Germany, nullity proceedings against patents are heard before the Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht, BPatG), with appeals before the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). Before anything else, a decision on the continuance or invalidity of a patent comes down to a technical/legal assessment: Is priority validly claimed? Has a patent been inadmissibly extended with technical information? Is a patent’s subject matter sufficiently disclosed technically? Is it novel relative to the prior art? And based on inventive step? The technical and patent-related expertise necessary in these cases cannot be overstated. Typically, a comprehensively strong technical history must be elaborated over the course of nullity proceedings on a patent.
Cancellation proceedings of utility models, trademarks, and designs can take place before the German Patent and Trademark Office (DMPA). They end with a decision and with the possibility of appeal to the Federal Patent Court (BPatG).