UK: UPC London location confirmed
In a major step towards realising the Unified Patent Court (UPC), the UK Intellectual Property Office has secured premises for the London section of the central division and the UK local division of the UPC.
Proposed plans for the Court show that there will be four court rooms and 17 meeting rooms or offices, providing capacity for hearing up to around 16 cases per week.
The European Union's Unitary Patent package legislation will create a new Unitary Patent right and UPC system across Europe.
The UPC will have sole jurisdiction for matters including the infringement and revocation of the soon-to-be-introduced Unitary Patents. At present, national courts and authorities of the contracting states of the European Patent Convention are competent to decide on the infringement and validity of European patents. Unitary Patents will provide a single IP right across many, but not all, EU member states, in contrast to current European patents which convert to a bundle of separate national patents on validation after grant. The UPC will also have jurisdiction over European patents, including existing European patents, although a transitional period of at least seven years is planned, during which patent owners will be able to opt European patents out of the UPC system.
Although the exact opening date for the London branch of the UPC is unknown, the UPC Agreement will not come into force until it has been ratified by at least 13 states, including the UK, France and Germany. At the time of writing, eight countries, including France, have ratified the Agreement. The UK government has stated its intent to complete ratification of the UPC by spring 2016, paving the way for a potential autumn 2016 start for the UPC.
This represents a milestone in the UK's preparations for the introduction of the UPC and will provide a London base for a modern court to support the UK's and Europe's patent litigation requirements.