Against the background of the creation of the Unified Patent Court, the association of European and international practitioners aims to facilitate access to patent law practice in Germany and to this end provide in particular English translations of German decisions to the expert community.
§ 1 Name, registered office, financial year
The association shall have the name “Work Group on Patent Judicature in Germany” (Arbeitskreis Patentgerichtswesen in Deutschland) and be entered in the register of associations at the Munich local court. The name shall thereafter be followed by the letters e.V.” (registered association).
The association shall have its registered office in Munich.
The financial year of the association shall be equivalent to the calendar year.
§ 2 Purpose of the association
1. The purpose of the association shall be vocational education and training by way of collecting, editing and analysing the case law and practice of patent law in Germany along with the associated procedural law, making it available to interested parties on an international and particularly European basis, especially to those operating in the areas of patent law, research and/or development as well as trainees working in those areas.
2. The purpose of these statutes pursuant to § 1 shall be realised by the following measures, in particular:
• exchanging experience and further education in the area of patent law and patent judicature, in particular by creating an English database of German decisions which will be globally accessible and free of charge;
• discussing and dealing with patent-related problems while also exchanging ideas with representatives from the areas of research and development within the framework of committees, meetings, conferences and generally accessible scientific publications;
• assisting in scientific, legal, financial, tax, technical and economic investigations in the fields of patent law and patent judicature;
• informing interested circles and the public in relation to the economic and technological significance of patent law and patent judicature in Germany, along with the national and international implications of this patent law and patent judicature with regard to scientific and technological progress, including by generally accessible publications and lectures held for and/or at universities and other further education establishments focusing on research, technology and development;
• collaborating with associations and organisations having similar aspirations.
3. The association shall solely and directly pursue charitable goals within the meaning of the “tax-privileged purposes” section of the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung). The association shall be neutral in political, ethnical and denominational terms. It shall operate for the public good and not pursue its own financial interests.
4. The resources of the association shall only be used for purposes laid down in these statutes. The members shall not receive subsidies from the funds of the association.
5. No person may benefit from unreasonably high remuneration or expenses that are alien to the purpose of the association.
6. Persons providing voluntary services may only claim the reimbursement of proven expenses.
7. Members who have departed or been expelled shall have no claim to the assets of the association.
§ 3 Membership
1. Any natural person who supports the aims of the association may become a member, in particular persons from trade and industry, science, the judiciary, trade associations and professions dealing responsibly with issues involving patent law and patent judicature in Germany.
2. Membership is also open to legal persons, associations and consortia, in particular partnerships, civil law associations, foundations, institutions and public law agencies.
3. Applications for admission shall be submitted in writing, stating a contact person. The executive board shall decide on the application for admission and inform the applicant of its decision. No grounds shall be required should the application be rejected. The executive board’s decision on admission shall be incontestable.
§ 4 Membership fees
1. The members shall be charged fees. The amount of the annual fee and the admission fee shall be determined by the general assembly at the proposal of the executive board. For the time being, the admission fee for members pursuant to § 3 no.1 shall amount to EUR 1,000 and the annual fee to EUR 200, while the admission fee for members pursuant to § 3 no. 2 shall amount to EUR 3,000 and the annual fee to EUR 600.
The members shall not acquire shares in the association’s assets by the payment of fees. Upon their departure or the association’s liquidation or dissolution, the members shall not be entitled to the reimbursement of fees or to shares in the assets.
The first fee shall be paid upon admission. The annual fees shall be paid at the beginning of each year.
2. Honorary members shall not be required to pay fees.
§ 5 Termination of membership
Membership shall terminate
1. upon departure, which is only permissible as at the end of the calendar year and shall be notified to the office in writing with at least three months’ advance notice.
2. upon death;
3. upon expulsion, to be decided by the executive board following a hearing of the member concerned. Members may be expelled for a serious breach of their duties towards the association or actions in gross contravention of the association’s prestige.
Members will seriously breach their duties towards the association in particular upon failure to pay their membership fees despite reminder and written notification of impending expulsion in the event that the outstanding membership fees have not been settled within a two-week time limit. The obligation to pay the outstanding fees shall continue despite the termination of membership.
In the event of expulsion, the member expelled may lodge an appeal. Following the hearing of the member expelled, the general assembly shall decide in that regard.
§ 6 Honorary membership
At the request of any executive board member, the executive board may confer honorary membership upon persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the association, in particular such persons who are or were members of the association.
This will require a majority of three quarters of the votes cast by all members of the executive board. The executive board may also take its decision by written vote.
The honorary members shall have all the rights and obligations of ordinary members with the exception of the obligation to pay fees.
§ 7 Governing bodies of the association
1. The governing bodies of the association shall be composed of
• the executive board, consisting at least of a president, treasurer and secretary plus a vice-president and one or more advisory members;
• the general assembly.
2. The executive board, represented in turn by the president or by two members of the executive board jointly, shall represent the association both in and out of court.
3. One person shall not hold more than one executive board office.
§ 8 Election and term of office of executive board
1. The members of the executive board shall be elected by the annual general assembly for a term of three years but will remain in office until new members of the executive board have been elected. They shall elect the president, treasurer and possibly the vice-president from among their members.
2. Should a member of the executive board depart during the member’s period of office, then the executive board shall elect a substitute member (from among the members of the association) for the remaining period of office of the departing member.
3. The members may be re-elected. The president may only be re-elected once, however.
§ 9 Duties and resolutions adopted by the executive board
1. The executive board shall be responsible for managing the matters pertaining to the association in accordance with the principles laid down by these statutes and the general assembly.
2. The executive board shall take its decisions with the majority of the votes cast by the members present. In the event of a tied vote, the president shall cast the deciding vote. The executive board may also take its decisions by written vote, provided that all members of the executive board cast their votes.
3. The president shall chair the meetings of the association and those of the executive board. In his/her absence, the president shall be represented by the vice-president who, in turn, shall be represented by the secretary.
4. The treasurer shall collect the membership fees, manage the assets and present a financial statement to the general assembly along with a forecast for the following year.
5. The secretary shall manage the office and deal with ongoing matters in agreement with the president.
6. The executive board may form committees and entrust them with mandates. The executive board may in particular form a program committee tasked with assisting it in the selection and organisation of the programs for meetings of the association.
§ 10 Advisory board
The former presidents shall form an advisory board.
Their membership shall be lifelong but shall terminate under the conditions set out in § 5.
The members of the advisory board shall have the right to participate in the meetings of the executive board in an advisory capacity; they shall be invited to the meetings of the executive board. They shall however only have a right to vote pursuant to § 11 within the context of the general assembly. They shall not be authorised to represent the association pursuant to § 7, no. 2.
§ 11 General assembly
1. An annual general assembly shall be held every year.
The executive board shall decide on the convening of further general assemblies. A general assembly shall be convened should more than ten percent of the members request the convening of such assembly in writing.
Invitations to the general assembly shall be in text form, set out the agenda, and require at least three weeks’ advance notice.
2. The general assemblies shall be quorate on condition that they have been duly convened.
Each member – including honorary or advisory board members – shall have one vote and may be represented by any other member by issuing a written power of attorney (provided in the original or as an electronic copy).
The general assembly shall adopt its resolutions by simple majority of all members present and represented.
The resolutions of the general assembly and the executive board shall be recorded in the minutes by the secretary or, in the secretary’s absence, by a member to be elected by the general assembly, and shall be signed by the chair and the recorder of the minutes.
3. The general assembly shall have the following tasks:
- receipt of the annual report
- election of one or more auditors to audit the treasurer’s financial statement and report the results of the audit to the general assembly
- discharge of the executive board
- approval of the forecast
- setting of the annual fees
- election of the members of the executive board
- adoption of decisions on proposals from the executive board and the members
- decisions on appeals pursuant to § 5, no. 2. of the statutes
§ 12 Amendment of the statutes
1. Proposals to amend the statutes shall be notified to the members in writing together with the invitation to the general assembly. An amendment to the statutes may only be resolved with a majority of three quarters of the votes cast by the members present and represented at the general assembly.
2. Resolutions on amendments to the statutes concerning the purposes of the association and the use of its assets shall be submitted to the responsible fiscal authorities. Should the fiscal authority raise objections on grounds of the association’s non-profit status, then the resolution shall be presented to the general assembly for renewed voting in that regard.
§ 13 Dissolution of the association
1. Proposals to dissolve the association shall be notified to the members by registered letter at least three months prior to the general assembly. Such dissolution may only be resolved with a majority of three quarters of the votes cast by the members present and represented at the general assembly.
2. In the event that the association is liquidated or dissolved, or its existing purpose is discontinued, then the net assets shall devolve to the Deutsche Vereinigung für gewerblichen Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht e.V. or, should this no longer exist, to the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Institut für Innovation und Wettbewerb). These companies shall use the assets they have assumed directly and exclusively for non-profit purposes within the meaning of § 2 of these statutes.
3. Once the dissolution of the association has been resolved, the executive board shall remain in office until the assets have been fully liquidated.
§ 14 Founding statutes
The founding statutes shall be resolved by the founding meeting by the end of June 2016.
The founding meeting, deemed an ordinary general assembly, shall not require convening pursuant to § 11, no. 1.
The founding members of the association may elect the executive board directly. The business year that started upon foundation shall end on 31 December 2016.
The foregoing statutes were adopted at the founding meeting on 8 April 2016, and supplemented and completed in the context of the founding meetings on 30 May 2016 and 17 October 2016.
Munich, 17 October 2016
Hess, Peter K.