Scandinavia: New court structure in Sweden
The court structure in Sweden for IP matters has recently been reformed and a specialized Patent and Market Court is being established to take over all patent-related cases within the next couple of years. The new Court will handle all IP, marketing and competition law cases and is operational as of September 1 2016. The new specialised court replaces the former Court of Patent Appeals and Market Court, as well as the civil disputes in the field handled by Stockholm District Court.
The Court of Patent Appeals has previously had competence in appeals in administrative matters where the Swedish Patent and Registration Office has issued decisions, while the relevant district courts and courts of appeal have been the competent courts in infringement and cancellation matters.
Instead of having two separate ways for handling administrative and contentious matters, the new specialised IP court will deal with both infringement/cancellation matters as well as appeals on decisions from the Swedish Patent and Registration Office. Hence, the risk of parallel proceedings relating to the same dispute/right will be abolished, and the reform further has the advantage of higher specialisation in the Patent and Market Court and thereby greater predictability.
In civil proceedings (including infringements, cancellations and declarations of non-infringement) the new structure means that the Patent and Market Court will be the first instance court, the Patent and Market Appeal Court is the second instance and a possibility to appeal to the Supreme Court is retained. The new Patent and Market Court is part of the Stockholm District Court. The Patent and Market Appeal Court is part of the Svea Court of Appeal, which is located in Stockholm.
The hierarchy in administrative matters would be the same except for a further instance which will be the Patent and Registration Office dealing with applications, oppositions etc, and from where appeals may be filed to the Patent and Market Court, followed by the Patent and Market Appeal Court and finally the Supreme Court.
Leave to appeal may be granted by the Patent and Market Appeal Court for cases from the Patent and Market Court. With regard to appeals of decisions or judgments from the Patent and Market Appeal Court to the Supreme Court, it is first required that the Patent and Market Appeal Court allows the appeal to be tried by the Supreme Court and this would only be possible if there is a precedential interest for a review by the Supreme Court.
In addition to the approval by the Patent and Market Appeal Court, the Supreme Court must grant its leave to appeal in order for the decision/judgment to be tried by that court. Should either of the courts decide not to grant a leave to appeal, the decision from the lower court cannot not be appealed, and the judgment or decision from the lower court becomes final.
Administrative matters pending in the Patent Court of Appeals on September 1 2016 are transferred to the Patent and Market Court, since the former court ceased to exist on this date. With regard to already pending civil cases in district courts or appellate courts, these will not be transferred to the new courts but will be adjudicated according to the old structure.
Malin Thunberg McCann