Hamburg will be granted a local chamber of the European Unified Patent Court. The decision taken by the Federal Minister of Justice,Heiko Maas significantly strengthens Hamburg‘s impact as a leading international location of commerce, trade, and justice. The European patent will soon replace the national patent.
The district court of Hamburg has already been acting as patent court of the North German federal states of Schleswig -Holstein, Bremen, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Pomerania. It is also easily accessible from Berlin-Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Each year, some 140 patent disputes are being negotiated in Hamburg. Hamburg‘s courts also enjoy an excellent reputation in patent matters on a national level.
The background for these changes is a reform of patent law at European level, bringing along a unified European patent jurisdiction.
The European Unified Patent Court will comprise a Court of First Instance headquartered in Paris, thematic sections, and local chambers. Next to Hamburg, they will be set up in Dusseldorf, Mannheim, and Munich. But only once the parliaments of each member state passed the “Agreement on a Unified Patent Court“, the courts will be officially set up. The start of operations is scheduled for 2015.
In addition, Hamburg strives to introduce English as language at court. This would enable inter-
national companies to settle their disputes at court more easily by using the international business language. North-Rhine-Westphalia supports the Hamburg initiative. Both German states have thus drafted a bill to establish English as a second official court language.