Matthias Rößler - 20. July 2023

The Unified Patent Court (UPC)

The Unified Patent Court has been dealing with patent disputes - both infringement actions and nullity actions - at European level since June 1, 2023.

The Court of Appeal of the Unified Patent Court has its seat in Luxembourg, while the Court of First Instance is divided among three central chambers and national local and regional chambers. In Germany, local chambers have opened in Düsseldorf, Mannheim, Munich and Hamburg.

Most of the proceedings filed with the EPG to date are infringement proceedings. Some nullity actions have already been filed with the central chamber in Munich.

European Central Chambers

At the end of June, the UPC Administrative Committee announced that the third seat of the central chambers, in addition to Munich and Paris, will be in Milan. The responsibilities of the central chambers in Germany, France and Italy were divided according to the sections of the International Patent Classification (IPC) as follows.

Mailand will be responsible for Section A patents (daily living necessities, excluding supplementary protection certificates).

Munich will be responsible for Section C patents (chemistry; metallurgy) and Section F (mechanical engineering; lighting; heating; weapons; blasting).

Paris is responsible for patents in Section B (work processes; transportation), Section D (textiles; paper), Section E (construction; earth drilling; mining), Section G (physics), Section H (electrical engineering), and supplementary protection certificates.

The central chamber in Milan is expected to start work by June 2024. Due to the Brexit - for the originally planned central chamber in London - the intended responsibilities had to be reorganized and distributed.

Languages of proceedings at the court locations

For the Court of Appeal, the language of the proceedings shall in principle be the language used in the proceedings before the Court of First Instance.

It was recently announced that the local departments in Germany, France and Italy, in addition to the respective national language, will also offer English procedures.

An overview of the procedural languages before the local or regional chambers: here.

Opt Out

Towards the end of the Sunrise period, a sharp increase in "opt out" declarations was recorded.

Many patent owners of already existing European patents accordingly requested that the responsibilities for maintaining and enforcing the individual national rights should continue to lie with the national patent offices and national courts. According to initial estimates, the proportion of patents that were withdrawn from the new jurisdiction was nearly 40%.

Representatives before the UPC

4,469 persons have applied to be representatives before the Unified Patent Court and have been registered after verification by the EPC Registry. Germany currently has the highest number of UPC representatives (approx. 44% of all representatives of the participating EU states).

A majority of karo IP's patent attorneys have obtained the European Patent Litigation Certificate (EPLC), which qualifies them as European patent attorneys to appear before the UPC Court and represent their clients' interests in patent litigation. (search for representatives).

We have summarized general information on the Unitary patent on our website.

Regarding Matthias Rößler:

Matthias Rößler, German and European Patent Attorney since 2003, studied mechanical engineering at the RWTH Aachen. He is co-founding partner of karo IP. A main focus of his practice is the management of large patent portfolios and the enforcement of bilateral litigation proceedings before patent offices and patent courts. His additional qualification as Master of Laws (LL.M.) qualifies him especially for multinational infringement matters in Europe.

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