Here's an excellent report by Axel Horns on a recent case heard by the German Supreme Court. Good to read that the Germans are on the right track. Hopefully, the rest of Europe will follow.
A patent is a publicly available document. That document has no shelf life. I can get copies of patents that were published 150 years ago. Why is this a big deal for patent attorneys? These documents are not novels or even journalistic pieces. They are legal documents. For the first 20 years or so of their lives, they are supposed to provide patentees with a monopoly in the claimed invention. This means that they can be pored over by interested parties, like other patent attorneys. It's a source of anxiety for those of us who take pride in our work. Or perhaps it's a case of fragile egos. The point is that our work can undergo intense scrutiny at least for 20 years. If that were not enough, our correspondence with patent examiners is also available to the public. This correspondence is often a record of legal arguments that we make in support of our clients' patent applications. The United States has an interesting legal doctrine called "Prosecution History Est