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The Unified Patent Court (UPC) has a complicated Court
structure, including a Court of First Instance made up of Central,
Local and Regional Divisions. For first instance proceedings,
whether an action is heard in the Central Division (and if so in
which section) or a particular Local or Regional Division, will
vary depending on the nature of the action, the identity of the
parties, the location of the cause of action, and the subject
matter of the patent. For example, the Central Division will hear
all revocation actions.
The UPC was originally intended to have three Central Divisions,
in London, Munich and Paris, with actions being allocated to a
particular location based on the subject matter of the patent. For
example, London was intended to handle cases in international
patent classifications A (human necessities) and C (chemistry,
including pharmaceuticals, and metallurgy). However, following
Brexit, a Central Division in London was no longer a viable option.
A new Central Division may be set up elsewhere in Europe to take on
the London cases, but initially the London cases will be divided
between Paris and Munich, and the UPC has today announced how the
work will actually be split.
The Munich Central Division was originally intended to deal with
cases in international patent classification F (mechanical
engineering, lighting, heating, blasting and weapons). Following
today’s announcement, the Munich Central Division will now also
be responsible for the chemistry, pharmaceuticals and metallurgy
cases in patent classification C.
The Paris Central Division was originally intended to deal with
cases in international patent classifications B (performing
operations, transport), D (textiles, paper), E (fixed
constructions), G (physics) and H (electricity) . Following
today’s announcement, the Paris Central Division will now also
be responsible for the human necessities cases in patent
With the UPC opening in just over 2 weeks, this announcement
seems rather late. However, perhaps this is a symptom of the fact
that the UPC has more pressing issues to deal with at the moment?
For example, the UPC case management system is frequently not
functioning correctly under the strain of the number of UPC
opt-outs being filed as the sunrise period draws to a close. We can
but hope that things will improve following the end of the sunrise
period, particularly given the short deadlines set for submissions
during UPC litigation.
In its meeting of 8 May 2023, the Presidium of the Unified
Patent Court decided that, as from 1 June 2023, actions pending
before the central division related to patents in IPC section (A)
shall be assigned to the seat in Paris while actions related to
patents in IPC section (C) shall be assigned to the section in
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