Organisational changes to the FPC?

The Committee for Legal Affairs of the National Council is currently considering amendments to the Patent Court Act (PatCA) to reflect some learnings from the first years of practice of the FPC. See the matter 16.478 on the website of the Swiss parliament.

Certain tasks and positions are currently reserved for judges with a background in law, ie to issue decisions as a judge sitting alone, the procedural case management and the position of the Vice-President. It is now proposed to also involve judges with a background in technology to some extent, and to allow the delegation of certain case management aspects to the court clerks.

The aim is to facilitate the daily work of the FPC. It is to be understood that the FPC is set up with only two full time judges (Art. 8(2) PatCA), one of them being the President (Art. 18(1) PatCA). The second permanent judge currently is Tobias BREMI, ie a judge with a main background in technology. That is not mandatory by law, but I feel it is crucial for the FPC to be fully functional at any time that the second permanent judge indeed has a background in technology. Else, urgent assessment of technical matters might be hampered. Since both the President and the Vice-President are required to have a background in law (Art. 18(3) and Art. 19(1) PatCA), the Vice-President currently is a non-permanent judge (Frank SCHNYDER). One may easily imagine how cumbersome it is for a non-permanent judge to unexpectedly yet urgently jump onto a case and to act as the President’s deputy from a remote place and with his/her other daily business breathing down his/her neck. And there will likely be a need for this more often as of Jan 1, 2018: As noted earlier on this Blog here, Mark SCHWEIZER is President-elect of the FPC for the next term. He and his firm appeared frequently before the FPC, and he will thus need to recuse in quite some cases at the beginning of his term.

Reported by Martin WILMING

Header image kindly provided by «Parlamentsdienste 3003 Bern»

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