English Language in German Courts – Reloaded

Back in 2011, a legislative initiative to allow commercial matters in German courts to be heard in the English language made it to the stage of expert hearings in parliament, but then slowly and quietly passed away. The proposal known as Gesetz zur Einführung von Kammern für internationale Handelssachen (KfiHG)  formally became obsolete when the parliamentary term ended with last year’s elections. Today, Hamburg has taken the issue up again and re-introduced the initiative to the Upper Chamber (Bundesrat) of the German parliament. The scope of the proposal apparently has remained unchanged. In 2011, the majority of the experts heard in parliament were in support of the proposal – see here for a report by one of the experts. We will see how far it gets in this second attempt.

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European Patent Litigation and Germany’s Role as the Forum of Choice

In today’s Frankfurter Allgemeine, my partner Gisbert Hohagen sets out the new patent landscape in the European Union (Deutschlands führende Rolle in Patentprozessen ist gefährdet – paywalled). He summarizes the changes that the new system of unified patents will bring, and discusses the challenges that the new enforcement regime poses to Germany’s role as the forum of choice for patent litigation – with a market share of 60% of Europe’s patent disputes. Continue reading

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Lost in Translation: Deutsche Bank vs. Kirch

In its current edition, The Economist covered the topic of cross-border legal services and the need for legal translations. But as a German case recently illustrated, in a globalised world, you can get lost in translation even in litigation that, at least on paper, is purely domestic. In the long drawn litigation saga between Deutsche Bank and the heirs of media tycoon Leo Kirch which is pending in the Munich courts, the judges have to resort to expert evidence from linguists in order to sort out what the minutes of board meetings of Deutsche Bank really meant. – According to today’s Frankfurter Allgemeine, things do not look good for Deutsche Bank. Continue reading

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My Court is Better Than Your Court – Düsseldorf’s Quest for World Domination

Düsseldorf has announced to invest big time in additional judicial capacity for its patent divisions, both at the District Court (Landgericht) and at the Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht), in its quest to become the world’s patent court – “Weltpatentgericht” is the word used in the ministry’s press release. Continue reading

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