Why Germany is the patent litigation centre in Europe

Germany, Tech, Thought Provoking

Interesting article from the New York Times about why so many patent disputes are being fought out in German courts.

Joachim Henkel, a professor of management at the Technical University of Munich, said big international companies were often seeking to exploit the German system for strategic advantage.

Mr. Henkel said the prominent patent and intellectual property disputes in the mobile phone sector, which have also involved courts in Asia, Britain and the United States, were bogging down cutting-edge companies in court.

“All of these infringement cases in Germany, Europe, the United States and Asia are having a hampering effect on innovation globally,” Mr. Henkel said. “Usually, what masquerades as a patent dispute is in actuality a dispute motivated by business strategy.”

The process has turned the German patent courts in Mannheim, Düsseldorf and Munich into some of the most overworked in Europe.

There is no risk for bringing a patent action as the article states.

Unlike the German patent system, the American system gives judges the option of awarding proportionate damages instead of granting outright injunctions that ban sales of disputed products in cases where “irreparable harm” cannot be demonstrated.

In Germany, if a court determines that a company legally holds a patent, it can issue an injunction to ban competing uses if asked.

There is no option of granting proportional monetary damages.

Learning to ski in Austria

Germany, Munich, Ski

I recently completed a 3-weekend skiing course based on the principles of Parallel Skiing out of Munich. It was a super-enjoyable course with great instructors who were incredibly patient and good-humoured. It was well-organised with every detail was taken care of like a different set of skis for each days tuition (the idea is to start on very short skis and learn how to stop using parallel movement and then progress to longer skis). The next course begins next January but if you send an email to null, you will be contacted in November next about the upcoming course.

Getting into mobile internet

Munich, Tech, Travel, Web

I’m a late adopter when it comes to using the internet on a phone. This has mainly come about due to the dearth of services that were available, my reluctance to commit to any type of contract and I wanted to get away from being online when I am away from the office or my apartment. However, now that I do a weekly commute and the fact that the train services I use don’t have any wireless services meant that I was out of touch for long spells on Mondays and Fridays. That was annoying when it meant being out of the loop while news was breaking on Monday or social plans were being made on Friday. This all came to a head when I needed a new phone and after a terrible experiment with an Lg, I found a review of the nokia 6220 classic on youtube that suggested it had the features of the N82 but without the huge pricetag. I got it and I got a kick out of using features like GPS, google maps, twitter, etc. However, the frequency and cost of topping up my credit was a problem. I went into t-mobile in Munich and they offered me a priceplan of 10 Euro a month but I had to commit to a contract. Since then, I haven’t looked back. My costs have good down, my train journeys are not so boring and now I’ve written my first blog post on the phone. Have a nice weekend.