Scope of pre-emptive brief not extending to an unspecified group of potential defendants

Case No. D2012_019 ¦ Decision of 27 August 2012 ¦ “Schutzschrift; Benennung der Parteien”

This is the first published decision of the FPC pertaining to a pre-emptive brief.

Two legal entities were identified as potential plaintiffs, and protection was also sought against interim measures without prior hearing being granted in favour of any other legal entity of the group of companies to which the two identified entities belong. This was accepted by the FPC, since also an exclusive licensee within this group of companies might well act as plaintiff (Art. 75(1) of the Federal Act on Invention Patents), and the respective licensee cannot be readily known / identified by the potential defendant.

However, an unspecified group of companies was also named as potential defendants while only one company was explicitly identified. This was not accepted: Only such person may set out his position in advance by filing a pre-emptive brief who has reason to believe that an ex-parte interim measure against him will be applied for without prior hearing (Art. 270(1) CPC). The FPC held that any party allegedly having such reason to believe to be a potential target is to be identified. In addition, no other legal entity than the explicitly identified potential defendant in fact authorized the filing of the pre-emptive brief. Consequently, the FPC decided to only consider the pre-emptive brief with respect to the explicitly identified company as such.

Nur diejenigen Gesellschaften aus der A.-Gruppe, die Grund zu dieser Annahme haben, sind berechtigt, eine Schutzschrift einzureichen. Und diese können auch im eigenen Namen auftreten. Damit gibt es keinen Grund, eine Schutzschrift auch im Namen nicht benannter Gesellschaften einzureichen. Ganz abgesehen davon, dass eine Schutzschrift nur dem zugerechnet werden kann, der den Einreicher dazu bevollmächtigt hat. Damit ist als Gesuchstellerin nur die A. AG anzuführen.

In accordance with Art. 270(3) CPC, the pre-emptive brief becomes ineffective six months after it is filed.

The potential plaintiff is served with the pre-emptive brief only if he indeed initiates the relevant proceedings (Art. 270(2) CPC); thus, the published decision is fully anonymised.

Reported by Martin WILMING

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Case No. D2012_019 ¦ Decision of 27 August 2012 ¦ “Schutzschrift; Benennung der Parteien”

(not identified) ./. (not identified)

Subject(s):

  • Pre-emptive brief

Composition of the Board of the FPC:

  • Dr. iur. Dieter BRÄNDLE (President, Single Judge)

Representative(s) of Plaintiff:

  • (not identified)

Representative(s) of Defendant:

  • (not identified)
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