Implementation of London Agreement: German Patent Law now in a Shambles?
A friendly reader of this Blog was so kind to post a comment to my previous posting reporting that the London Agreement will enter into force on May 01, 2008.
With his comment, the reader points out that there might be some case of a sloppy exercise of work by the German political and parliamentary machinery in 2003 which now might have turned German Patent Law into a shambles: The London Agreement requires Member States of the 'London Club' revising their national law in accordance with the provisions thereof. With regard to Germany, this has already happened in 2003, where the German Parliament had passed a Bill amending the national German translation requirements in accordance with the London Agreement. Of course, at that date they did not know when exactly the London Agreement would enter into force. The national German law says that the Act to abolish the full translation requirement shall enter into force on the first day of the fourth month after the entry into force of the London Agreement. If I have counted correctly, the date of entry into force of the German national provision will be
September 01, 2008.
According to the provisions of the London Agreement applicable for Germany in conjunction with German law requiring a full translation within 3 months starting with the mention of grant, the latest European Patents granted by EPO for which a full translation for Germany is required will be mentioned in the Official Gazette on May 01, 2008, opening a three month term for preparing and filing a German translation with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office by
August 01, 2008.
This it appears as if national German Law would require filing of a full German translation with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office until one month in excess of the date given by the London Agreement.
If the Parliament does not manage to fix this problem by August 01, 2008, patent applicants might face a tough decision: Recurring to the London Agreement itself, not filing a full translation for patents mentioned in the Official Gazette from August 02 to September 01, 2008, risking the invalidity of their European Patent on the territory of Germany, or 'voluntarily' obeying German law by paying for a full translation.