Posted on 25/5/2023

Milan officially named as third seat of the Unified Patent Court, but what will be competent to hear?

Milan replaces London after the UK withdrew from the UPC in 2020.

The Italian Government has announced that Milan will be the location of the third central division of the Unified Patent Court (UPC).

Milan joins Munich and Paris as the final third of the central division of the UPC, replacing London which can no longer host the UPC owing to Brexit, which necessitated the UK withdrawing from the UPC in 2020.

It had long been suspected that Milan would replace London, although it is not yet confirmed what competencies the Milan division will have.

The original plan for the UPC was for the three seats of the central division to each be specialised for certain subject matter. The London seat was intended to hear cases relating to Human Necessities and Chemistry, Metallurgy (i.e., IPC codes A and C), with Paris presiding over cases relating to Performing Operations; Transporting, Textiles, Paper, Fixed Constructions, Physics and Electricity (IPC codes B, D,E, G and H), and Munich competent for Mechanical Engineering, Lighting, Heating, Weapons and Blasting (IPC code F).

Whilst Milan will have the third seat of the central branch, there has not yet been an announcement as to whether the Milan division will, once it is operational, simply take on those originally intended for London, or whether Paris and Munich will share some of the competencies intended for London, as has been speculated.

It has been announced that the competencies intended for London will be shared between Paris and Munich provisionally, in order that there is a division able to hear such cases when the UPC finally enters into force on 1 June 2023.

The provisional splitting of the ‘London’ competencies is that Paris will hear Human Necessities cases (i.e. IPC code A cases), and that Munich will hear Chemistry and Metallurgy case (IPC code C cases).

The UPC will enter 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.

Wilson Gunn