Emmanuel Gougé of Pinsent Masons, based in Paris, said: “The current European patent system is a centralized procedure for filing and granting European patents which is then divided into national parts. This means that when it comes to infringement or revocation disputes, parties must litigate separately in each country. This leads to parallel proceedings, contradictory judgments and an increase in legal costs. The aim of the JUB is to remedy this situation and provide a single forum for patent litigation covering all participating Member States in order to put an end to costly parallel litigation and provide greater legal certainty.
“The project is ambitious, but the court is not yet ready. For example, IT systems have yet to be fully tested and judges have yet to be appointed – although this should happen by the summer – so the court is a bit like a start-up drawing and growing its business. “, did he declare.
Although preparations for the new system are yet to be completed, Nicole Jadeja said: “UPC is really happening and will happen soon. This will radically change the way patents are enforced and therefore any company with patents in their arsenal of intellectual property assets – even companies that have not or have never needed to get involved in patent litigation – need to be prepared. There are decisions that need to be made regarding existing patent portfolios and considerations around the commercialization of those patents.
The UPC system took years to develop. It will include a system of central, regional and local divisional courts, with a JUB Court of Appeal in Luxembourg and the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) the final arbiter on points of EU law in with regard to litigation on unitary patents or non-opt out European patents.
Originally, it was planned that London would be one of three “seats” of the Central Division Courts, specializing specifically in the resolution of patent disputes in the area of life sciences. However, Brexit means that the UK no longer participates in the new unitary patent and CUP framework. At least initially, responsibility for life science patent litigation before the UPC will be shared by the other central division courts in Paris and Munich, which will otherwise specialize in patent litigation respectively. technology patents and mechanical engineering patent litigation.
Marc L. Holtorf of Munich-based Pinsent Masons said: “The local and regional divisions of the UPC are normally the competent starting point for infringement proceedings and counterclaims for revocation against an infringement proceeding. . The departmental central courts have jurisdiction for single actions for nullity and for actions for the finding of non-infringement. The great debate over whether a central third division seat should be established in the Netherlands or Italy is over. For the next seven years, the headquarters of the central division will be in Paris and Munich only.
EU countries must ratify the international treaty giving effect to the UPC – the UPC Agreement – into national law before they can participate. Most EU countries support the project, but Spain, Croatia and Poland have so far indicated they will not participate, although that may change in the future.
While a critical mass of countries have already completed ratification of the UPC agreement, Ireland is one of many EU countries that has yet to do so. Ann Henry of Dublin-based Pinsent Masons said the Irish public would be asked to vote on whether Ireland would ratify the deal.