IP-Fälle und Artikel

UPC: Milan Central Division and Irish Referendum

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) has a Court of First Instance which is divided into Local, Regional and Central divisions, a Court of Appeal, a Registry and an Arbitration and Mediation Centre. The Local and Regional Divisions primarily have competence for infringement actions, with or without revocation counterclaims, whilst the Central Division primarily has competence for revocation actions, with or without infringement counterclaims. The Central Division also has competence for actions for a declaration of non-infringement.

At present the Central Division is divided between Paris and Munich, and actions must be brought before the relevant branch based on technology. Paris handles patent disputes in WIPO IPC Sections (A), (B), (D), (E), (G) and (H), and Munich handles patent disputes in WIPO IPC Sections (C) and (F).

Paris Munich
(A) Human necessities. (C) Chemistry; metallurgy.
(B) Performing operations; transporting. (F) Mechanical engineering; lighting; heating; weapons; blasting.
(D) Textiles; paper. (E) Fixed constructions.
(G) Physics. (H) Electricity.

From June 2024, Milan will be the third location of the Central Division.

Following the decision of the UPC Administrative Committee in June 2023 that Milan were to host the third branch of the UPC Central Division, the UPC and Italy have now signed a formal agreement to this effect. The signing of this agreement was announced by the Italian Government in a press release on 26 January 2024 (see https://dycip.com/news-upc-hq-italy-upc). The Director General for Europe of the Italian Foreign Ministry, Nicola Verola, signed on behalf of Italy, and the President of the Court of Appeal, Klaus Grabinski, signed on behalf of the UPC.

The Milan seat of the UPC Central Division is understood to open its doors on June 2024 and will have jurisdiction over patents related to “human necessities”, that is, patents classified under WIPO IPC section (A). This includes pharmaceutical and medical devices, agriculture, food, tobacco, home appliances, clothing, and sports and gaming. The Paris seat will, however, retain jurisdiction over any patents with supplementary protection certificates (SPCs).

The press release noted that: “The Unified Patent Court is a supranational European patent litigation system, whose rulings are to be recognized and enforced in all member states of the system.”

At the time of writing, the “member states of the system” number 17: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden. This may, however, increase to 18 should Ireland ratify the UPC Agreement.

The Irish government announced on 23 January 2024 that a referendum on the UPC will be held alongside the European and local elections in June 2024 (see https://dycip.com/news-ireland-upc-referendum). The Irish government has also approved the priority drafting of a Bill to give effect to the proposed constitutional amendment required before Ireland could join the UPC.

We will report on further developments in due course.

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