In order to increase the attractiveness of Munich as a venue for patent infringement cases, the Patent Chambers of the Munich District Court recently launched a number of procedural changes. Among others, the changes include the introduction of an early first hearing, in which the court will give the parties a preliminary assessment of the case so that plaintiff and defendant each receive indications for the main hearing. At the same time, in the early first hearing, the other deadlines for submitting briefs as well as the date for the main hearing are agreed. It is the intention of the Munich District Court that these deadlines should be obligatory; the option of an extension of a deadline should be exercised restrictively. Furthermore, not previously agreed-upon additional briefs will be restricted by enforcing civil procedural delay rules or, if necessary, by postponing the main hearing.
The introduced procedural changes should significantly expedite patent litigation cases before the Munich District Court. The court expects a total time frame of about six to ten months, starting from filing of the lawsuit. The presented procedural changes appear promising. Particularly welcome is the approach of the district court to use the early first hearing as a possibility for determining the venue for the parties, so that the factually relevant questions from the point of view of the court can be prepared adequately for the main hearing. This prevents being confronted with negative surprises during the main hearing. In conjunction with the considered streamlining of the proceeding by the district court, this should make Munich as a venue for patent infringement proceedings clearly more attractive.