In an order published today, the German Federal Constitutional Court decided that the Act of Approval to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“UPC Agreement”) is void. In its reasoning, the Court held that the ratification of the UPC Agreement violated democratic principles as the Act of Approval was not passed by two thirds of the members of the German Parliament (Bundestag). Thus, the Bundestag did not effectively pass the Act of Approval.
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According to press reports, the German Ministry of Justice recently released a draft law proposal to restrict injunctions in patent cases by equitable considerations in individual cases. Currently, under German patent law, a permanent injunction is the automatic remedy if a patent is found to be infringed. And since digitalization has led to an increase in the number of patents involved in a single product (e.g., cars, smartphones), the grant of injunctive relief based on a single patent may therefore easily
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On 11 February 2020, five months after the German federal government adopted a blockchain strategy, the Bavarian state government implemented a blockchain strategy of its own, acknowledging that blockchain is a key digitalization technology. The Bavarian strategy paper highlights that blockchain technology could lead to the new, disruptive business models and to administrative processes that are more efficient.
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In addition to obvious examples of original art such as paintings, music and poetry, copyright protection can, inter alia, also extend to nonfictional literature such as technical reports and expert opinions. In several cases, the District Court and the Higher District Court of Cologne as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that even scientific expert opinions or military mission reports which merely reproduce facts or findings can be subject to copyright protection.
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According to recent press reports, the German data protection authorities have agreed on a new way to calculate administrative fines under the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). The new scoring model, which has not yet been officially published, could make fines of tens of millions of euros a reality in Germany. In contrast to their French and UK counterparts, Germany’s data protection authorities have so far been more restrictive in imposing GDPR fines.
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On 4 June 2019, the German Federal Court of Justice upheld a ruling by the German Federal Patent Court in which the latter court denied an application for a compulsory license under a patent related to the treatment of cholesterol-related disorders (Case X ZB 2/19). This decision is in line with previous German jurisprudence that has, with a few exceptions, been restrictive to grant compulsory licenses.
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After several months of delay and heated political discussion among all German parties about the scope of protection regarding journalists, whistleblowers and employees, the German parliament adopted the Federal Government’s draft Trade Secrets Act on 21 March 2019. This act implements Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure into national German law with the aim of establishing a homogenous protection of trade secrets.
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On 20 December 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice confirmed that photographs of public domain paintings ‎are, in principle, protected by a copyright-related right in section 72 of the German Copyright Act (Case No. I ZR 104/17). The case involved a request to take down several pictures hosted on Wikimedia Commons—an online database of works distributed under Creative Commons licenses—as public domain images. All pictures featured art on display at the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.
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On 13 February 2019, the data protection officer for the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg published a guideline on password security under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The guideline aims to advise data controllers (e.g., service providers, administrators) on how to set up effective password policies and securely store passwords, and data subjects (users) on how to choose secure passwords.
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According to recent press reports, since the EU General Data protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, German data protection authorities have issued 41 GDPR-related fines. The highest fine in a single case is reported to have been EUR 80,000, and the majority of fines (33) originated from the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.
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