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Specialised patent court

This page documents the courts that have special powers to hear patent cases.

The details of each court should be found on its own page but this page aims to document possible common traits such as

  • Do specialist judges give more pro-patent rulings than non-specialists?
  • Do specialist judges often have ties to the patent industry?
  • ...



In France, patent cases seem to be handled by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris (TGI Paris).


See also: German patent courts and appeals

US Judge Michel Sequel made the below comment. It's seems clear he's talking about the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH). The translation "German Supreme Court" is confusing, since other people would call Germany's constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) the "Supreme" court.

When the German judge talked he pointed out that although he’s on the German Supreme Court, they have specialization within their court, and he’s part of the Tenth Senate which does all the IP cases, and only IP cases. And the only higher court in Germany is the so-called Constitutional Court, and it’s not allowed to hear patent cases. And therefore, it can’t overrule or tinker with the law developed by the German Supreme Courts Patent Senate.[1]


Japan has the "Intellectual Property High Court" (知的財産高等裁判所, Chiteki-zaisan kōtō-saiban-sho) for patent cases.[2]

South Korea

South Korea has the Patent Court of Korea.


Switzerland has a Federal Patent Court of Switzerland.[3]


See also: UK patent courts and appeals

The UK has two specialised patent courts. For complex cases, there's the Patents Court, which is within the Chancery Division of the UK Supreme Court.[4][5] And for simpler cases, there's the Patents County Court.[6]

I thought I read a UK ruling where a judge from a lower patent court was brought in to a higher court to write the judgement for a case. I thought it was The Halliburton rulings by UK High Court - 2005-2011 (the 2011 ruling), but rereading it I find nothing of the sort.


See also: US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit#Pro-patent tendencies and USA patent courts and appeals

In the USA, patent cases are initially heard by district courts, but on appeal they don't go to the usual (circuit) appeal court but instead to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). The CAFC only hears appeals on patent cases plus a few smaller areas of law.

The CAFC is often described as being packed with judges with backgrounds or connections to the patent application/aggression industry. Details sought.

Proposed unified European court

Most (all?) proposals include finding judges who are experts in patents. Problem is, this means most will have backgrounds or involvement in the patent application/aggression industry.

Arguments against specialised courts

The "expert" judges will usually be ex-patent-lawyers or have other links to the patent industry that will bring a pro-patent bias.

Arguments for specialised courts

Michel Sequel, former Chief Judge of the CAFC:

if I had magical powers as a judge on the federal circuit, I would arrange to have Federal Circuit patent decisions not reviewable anywhere else.


Look, the Supreme Court only hears patent cases at the rate of about one every other year. Take Bilski on 101 [ed: patentable subject matter]. Nine Supreme Court justices, eight of them had never seen a 101 issue before in their entire time on the Supreme Court. Only Justice Stevens had ever seen a 101 issue before. Well, that shows the problem right there. The Federal Circuit has every issue under the sun come up again and again and again, month after month, year after year. So it has intense exposure to all these different issues and the interplay among all these different sections, and the Supreme Court doesn’t. And, frankly, I think the Supreme Court has often been misled by lawyers.

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