German patent courts

Bérénice Thom is new presiding judge at Regional Court Düsseldorf

The 4a Patent Chamber at Düsseldorf Regional Court has a new presiding judge. Bérénice Thom takes over the position from Tim Crummenerl, who moved to the Federal Court of Justice in April.

26 August 2021 by Konstanze Richter

Bérénice Thom Bérénice Thom takes up the mantle of presiding judge at the Regional Court Düsseldorf's 4a Patent Chamber ©saiko3p/ADOBE STOCK

The patent community has expected the appointment of Bérénice Thom for weeks. The 41-year-old began her career at Preu Bohlig and moved to the North Rhine-Westphalia judiciary in 2011. She became a judge at Düsseldorf Regional Court’s patent chambers in 2013.

Bérénice Thom

Bérénice Thom ©Landgericht Düsseldorf

Over the past eight years, Bérénice Thom has sat on the bench in numerous patent disputes. In Patent Chamber 4b, she was involved in decisions such as Apple vs. France Brevets and Polaris v. Nvidia, alongside presiding judge Daniel Voß.

Bérénice Thom’s predecessor Tim Crummenerl joined the bench at the Federal Court of Justice in spring 2021. Following his departure, Thom became acting head of the 4a Patent Chamber. She had been deputy presiding judge here for several years.

Changes afoot

Bérénice Thom’s appointment is the latest in a series of changes at German patent courts. When confirming her appointment, Düsseldorf Regional Court also announced that the presidents of all three chambers had agreed to systemise proceedings.

The aim is to make them faster and more focused. Furthermore, the court said that proceedings across all chambers became shorter in 2020.

According to the court, written preliminary proceedings will take place upon receipt of a suit. There will no longer be an early intitial hearing. In addition, once the defendant has submitted their readiness to defend, judges will set a date for the hearing and the deadlines for the statement of defense, reply and rejoinder.

Only in exceptional cases will the judges wait for the statement of defence before scheduling hearings. Possible exceptions include major proceedings, such as SEPs.