How much do British judges earn

Remuneration: Salaries for UPC judges are fixed

The judges at the new patent court of the European Union, the Unified Patent Court (UPC), can earn between 11,000 and 12,000 euros per month gross. That was determined by the preparatory committee for the new court at the end of February, according to a communication from the British patent office. This would mean that the German patent judges at the UPC would earn significantly better than at national courts.

At the UPC, the patent judges are paid only depending on the authority they work for. A judge at the court of first instance would receive 132,000 euros per year for a full-time job, and a judge at the appeals court would receive 144,000 euros. Age, experience and marital status would therefore not play a role. It would also make no difference whether the judges are legally or technically qualified. According to information from German patent circles, the judge's salary is taxed at 13 percent.

The new European patent court is due to start working on a trial basis in the coming summer and then officially go into operation in April 2017. The UPC consists of the court of first instance with national entrance instances, the so-called local chambers, and a central court with headquarters in Paris. The court of appeal is located in Luxembourg. In the future, the UPC will decide on the new EU patent as well as on the existing bundle patent, provided it applies to the 26 participating states from the European Union. Due to the high number of patent cases, Germany has four local chambers with Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim and Munich.

Judges have not yet been determined

It is currently not clear which German patent judges will be active at the UPC. According to experts, however, the specialized judges from the major German infringement courts of Düsseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, as well as from the Federal Patent Court and the Federal Court of Justice will be well represented. Interested parties can currently apply to the UPC Preparatory Committee. The selection should be completed this year. It is considered certain that those responsible will be able to draw on unlimited resources. In the first round of screening, 3,500 judges and patent experts across Europe had expressed their interest.

The salary should be particularly attractive for the judges of the patent courts, who will set up a local division in the future. A presiding judge at the regional court in Munich earns an annual base salary of around 87,800 euros, a presiding judge at the Munich OLG 93,000 euros. The presiding judges of the patent chambers at the Düsseldorf Regional Court are somewhat worse off with an annual salary of up to 77,640 euros and at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court of 85,680 euros. The federal patent judges earn a little more. A presiding judge at the Federal Patent Court receives an annual basic salary of 92,500 euros, at the Federal Court of Justice of 115,600 euros.

Outside employment allowed or not?

According to information that has not yet been confirmed, UPC judges should not be allowed to pursue secondary activities. There are very different rules here across Europe. If there is a ban on secondary employment, the UPC salaries are likely to be less attractive for German judges. They are often active in lectures or comments. The pension regulations have also not yet been clarified.

In the four German federal states concerned, there is currently still a struggle over pension and state aid regulations for the judges who are sent to the UPC. The North Rhine-Westphalian state government should consider delegating its judges to the UPC. The entitlement to national pensions and benefits should remain in place. Due to the initially low number of cases, it is considered certain that the judges will initially work part-time at the UPC and, in parallel, pursue their previous duties as national patent judges. (Mathieu Klos)