Early usage of the UPC: infringement and revocation proceedings
The Unified Patent Court (UPC) opened its doors on 01 June 2023. Now, more than six weeks since the opening of the court, based on publically available statistics, we consider the actions that have been brought before the UPC, both in terms of infringement proceedings and revocation proceedings.
- When reviewed on 17 July 2023, the UPC lists seventeen infringement actions and three revocation actions, of which one is a counter claim for revocation in response to an infringement claim.
- Initial uptake in terms of revocation actions appears relatively low. By way of comparison, the number of patents opposed at the European Patent Office (EPO) each year is typically around 4,000.
- There is no noticeable bias in terms of infringement actions in relation to particular areas of technology. Infringement actions are pending for companies operating in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, telecommunications and retail technology.
- On the other hand, all three revocation actions relate to pharmaceuticals and/or biotechnology.
- The uptake of the UPC is broadly spread geographically, with approximately one third of claimants being European and two thirds being non-European.
Overall, while it is still early days for the UPC, it seems that initial uptake may not be as high as suggested by some observers in the run up to the launch of the new system. It may be that a number of companies are waiting to see how cases are handled by the UPC and how the case law develops. So far it seems that only a relatively small number of specific companies are taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by this new court. It will be interesting to see how uptake of the UPC develops. We will continue to monitor and report on this over the coming months.