Under pressure: Von Arx AG ./. Gustav Klauke GmbH

Case No. O2013_006 ¦ Main Hearing of 03 September 2015

Note that Hepp Wenger Ryffel is involved in this case on behalf of the defendant.

The patent in suit is EP 944 937 B1 of Gustav Klauke GmbH. The plaintiff in this nullity case is Von Arx AG. See Swissreg for further bibliographic details of the Swiss part of this Europen patent in suit. The patent pertains to a hydraulic pressing device (such as illustrated below) with an automatically actuating return valve for the hydraulic oil. The closed and open positions of this return valve are illustrated in Fig. 1 and 2 of the patent, respectively (click to enlarge):

The only independent claim 1 reads as follows:

Hydraulic pressing device (2) having a stationary part (26) and a moving part (24), the moving part (24) being moved relative to the stationary part (26) by means of a hydraulic piston (9) and being moveable by means of a return spring return into an initial position, wherein the return stroke is releasable in dependence on a predetermined pressing pressure by actuation of a return valve, characterized in that the automatically actuating return valve is built such that it is maintained in the open position during the entire return stroke of the hydraulic piston.

The European patent had already been challenged in EPO opposition / appeal proceedings by other parties but had been upheld as granted; cf. EPO file wrapper and decision T 0861/05 for further details.

Parallel proceedings are ongoing in Germany. In first instance, the Federal Patent Court of Germany has upheld the German part of EP 944 937 B1 in limited form; see decision 6 Ni 47/14 (EP). This wording is also one of the auxiliary requests of the defendant in the Swiss proceedings. Both parties lodged an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court. Infringement proceedings are currently stayed pending nullity proceedings.

The plaintiff alleged that a public prior use of a device was novelty destroying for the patent in suit. It is under dispute which valve had actually been embodied in this device. Moreover, the general mechanism of this valve was extensively discussed.

Some discussion came up concerning the extent of submissions in the main hearing, e.g. whether repetition of facts and arguments already on file is allowed or not. The President made clear that a didactical summary of key issues is allowed, in particular when the overall duration of the submission is well within normal limits. In any event,

[…] die Teilnahme an einer Hauptverhandlung ist kein Besuch auf dem Ponyhof!

Loosely translated, just a pointed closing remark: A main hearing is no walk in the park.

Reported by Ingo LUMMER and Martin WILMING


Case No. O2013_006 ¦ Main Hearing of 03 September 2015

Von Arx AG ./. Gustav Klauke GmbH

Board of Judges:

  • Dr. Dieter BRÄNDLE
  • Dr. Tobias BREMI
  • Dr. Kurt SUTTER

Court Clerk


Reporting Judge:

  • Dr. Tobias BREMI

Representative(s) of Plaintiff:

Representative(s) of Defendant:


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