A guide to the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC)
What you need to know about the new Unitary Patent system and the issues you will need to consider.
The Unified Patent Court’s (UPC’s) Administrative Committee has announced the competencies of the UPC’s Central Division seat in Milan.
The competencies of the Milan seat have been reduced when compared to the initial competencies assigned to the original London seat, which due to Britain withdrawing from the UPC as part of Brexit, has required a reshuffle of the third seat of the UPC’s Central Division and its competencies.
Milan was announced as the third seat in May (see our article here), but the actual competencies of the Milan seat were still the subject of negotiation between the UPC Administrative Committee and the Italian Government.
It has now been announced that the Milan seat will be competent to hear the International Patent Classification code A patents (relating to human necessities), but only those cases without supplementary protections certificates (SPCs). This has a reduced competency when compared to the original London seat, which was competent to hear cases relating to classes A and C (chemistry and metallurgy).
The class C cased without SPCs will now be heard in Munich, and those class C cases with SPCs will be heard in Paris, along the class A cases with SPCs.
It has also been announced that the Milan seat will begin hearing case in June 2024, and so the provisional split of cases between Munich and Paris (with Munich hearing class C cases and Paris hearing class A cases) will continue until the Milan seat is up and running. A definite start for the Milan seta has not yet been confirmed.
From a technical standpoint, the Administrative Committee has, in an unusual manner, not amended the UPC agreement itself to remove the reference to London and refer to Milan in its place. In the words of the Administrative Committee, “the allocation of cases to a section of the Central Division of the Court of First Instance in London has to be interpreted as having no effect”. This interpretation is somewhat controversial and may be the subject of proceedings regarding the UPC and its legal effect in due course.
The UPC entered into force on 1 June 2023. For advice on the UPC and how it may affect your patents or applications, please contact one of our experts or take a look at our guide to the unitary patent.