A single transnational court
The UPC is a single transnational court, with its various local, regional, and central divisions operating as branches under a single set of rules of procedure. The court of appeal should ensure that these are interpreted consistently across the first instance divisions. A common misconception about the UPC is that each local division will effectively be like a national court of that country, but that is not the case.
The UPC procedures are derived from a wide variety of traditions, both civil procedure and common law, developed in the core patent litigation jurisdictions in Europe, including the UK. This creates a toolkit of litigation options for its users to deploy as their case strategy dictates. Successful UPC litigation will therefore require a team of patent litigators with a proven track record of successfully deploying these different techniques for their clients.
EIP Amar’s team has first-hand, deep experience of French, German and UK patent litigation and is ideally placed to successfully deploy litigation strategies for its clients utilising the complete UPC toolkit.
Speedy procedure; technical and legal skills
The UPC procedures require all parties to present a complete case from the outset, with short deadlines which are particularly pressing on a defendant. Where validity is challenged, either as a counterclaim to an infringement action or as a stand-alone revocation action, patentees have only a single guaranteed opportunity to introduce amendments to overcome the invalidity objections. This necessitates mastering the technical aspects of the case rapidly, and a combination of patent prosecution and legal skills.
EIP Amar’s litigation team includes patent attorneys across all technical disciplines, and they have significant experience of working cohesively with our legally qualified colleagues in patent trials to achieve significant successes for its clients. This provides an unrivalled resource for developing the technical aspects of a UPC case in a speedy and cost-effective manner.
Language really matters
One of the most striking features of the UPC is that, for the first time, it will be possible to conduct litigation in respect of multiple European countries in a single language. This may not even be an official language of any of the countries involved.
It will almost always be possible to use English as the language of the litigation. French and German are expected to be key languages as well, not least since the language of the patent may in some situations determine the language to be used in UPC proceedings. The European Patent Office grants patents in English, French and German.
Matching its geographical spread, EIP Amar’s litigation team is not only capable of conducting litigation in all three of these core UPC languages but is highly experienced in successfully doing so.
Many locations; some expected to be more popular
The UPC will have first instance venues across the European Union, but they are not all expected to be equally busy. Two branches of the central division of the court of first instance are confirmed, one located in France and the other in Germany, the country that has the highest level of patent litigation in Europe already. The court of appeal is in Luxembourg.
Various countries will have local divisions, with Germany the only country to host multiple local divisions (it will have four – in Munich, Düsseldorf, Mannheim, and Hamburg). There is one regional division (a division covering multiple countries), which is the Nordic-Baltic division, to be seated in Stockholm.
EIP Amar has a strong presence in France, Germany and Sweden, and is therefore well situated for the locations predicted to be the most active in the UPC.
Combining UPC litigation with national litigation
Many UPC litigation strategies will involve national litigation as well. In most cases, litigants will want to consider the UK, an established patent litigation venue, in parallel.
If a patent portfolio includes two European patents, one can be asserted nationally, and another can be asserted at the UPC (as long as the latter has not been opted out of the UPC). Even a single European patent could be asserted against one defendant in the UPC, and against a different defendant in a national court. In some situations, litigants may wish not to use the UPC at all and to stick to the established national procedures.
EIP Amar can advise on and deploy a range of strategies using the full range of litigation venues that are available.