After many months of discussion, the European Union (EU) has announced the proposed EU Unified Patent Court (UPC) structure.
The court will eventually have exclusive jurisdiction over any European patent litigation, including patents granted under the present European Patent system and the proposed EU patents. EU patents will automatically cover all EU countries, as reported in our December 2011 article.
The UPC will initially have three centres: Paris, London and Munich. London will have jurisdiction over litigation of patents relating to chemistry and the life sciences, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices, Munich will have jurisdiction over litigation of patents relating to mechanical engineering and Paris will take the remaining technologies. There will be an Appeal Court in Luxembourg.
The London cluster is a significant boost for the UK and UK litigants will have easy access to Paris which is only a short train ride away. Forresters has a strong presence in the other two key locations, with offices in both London and Munich.
The EU has yet to decide the exact relationship between the courts. This will become clearer as the courts are set up.
The proposed structure would provide a new system of patent litigation in the EU by 1 April 2014. However the new system requires European Parliament approval. At the moment the Parliament has postponed its decision.
We will keep you updated on the progress of the proposal before the European Parliament.