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Latest draft of Unified Patent Court rules released

The group of patent judges and practitioners in charge of drawing up the rules of procedure for the Unified Patent Court has published its latest draft, together with a summary of the changes and the rationale for them

The Expert Group, chaired by Kevin Mooney, says that the 16th draft reflects the responses the group received to the latest round of consultations, which closed in October.

The Group has also published a summary of the changes it has proposed, explaining why its members rejected or accepted recommendations for each change.

The Legal Group of the Preparatory Committee, chaired by Germany’s Johannes Karcher, will now consider the draft set of rules at the level of participating EU member states. It plans to hold a hearing later this year on the suggested amendments to the text. The hearing is expected to be in September or October.

The publication of the latest draft comes a week after a group of technology companies wrote an open letter calling for additional “judicial guidance” on bifurcation and injunctions.

The 19 signatory companies and associations, many of whom operate in the electronics and computing sectors, are particularly concerned that troll-like patent owners could abuse the new UPC to block the sale of products based on dubious patents.

On this issue, the Expert Group notes that Intel claimed that Rule 211 of the earlier draft “provides too little guidance on how to exercise discretion to grant provisional relief” and is “concerned that different local and/or regional courts will adopt divergent approaches”.

In response, the Group says it has agreed to reword Rule 211.3 to incorporate text based on Article 62(2) to state “…the Court shall in the exercise of its discretion weigh up the interests of the parties and, in particular, take into account the potential harm for either of the parties resulting from the granting or the refusal of the injunction.”

The Group says it has also agreed that the Court should have regard to unreasonable delay when it comes to granting injunctions.

You can read more about the next steps for setting up the UPC, including the appointment of judges, here.

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