At the last meeting of the Preparatory Committee, the 18th draft of the Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court was adopted.
This 18th draft will, subject to some modifications when the court fees have been decided, form the final version of the Rules of Procedure.
The 18th draft does not comprise too many substantive changes from the previous version (a handy comparison of the two versions can be seen here) but IPcopy notes the following changes:
- Rule 5, paragraph 13 now includes a reference to the sunrise period for registering opt-outs from the competence of the Unified Patent Court.
- Under rule 10(c) it is possible for the Court to dispense with an oral hearing or trial if the parties agree. It seems likely that use of this provision will be rare.
- Under rule 14 an exception to the language regime allows a division of the court to use its own official language for oral proceedings and rendering decisions even if the parties have agreed to use a different language. If this provision is used by the Court however then a certified translation will be provided.
- Rule 17(3) determines how cases are distributed between the various branches (Munich, London and Paris) of the Central Division. In circumstances where the action involves more than one classification or multiple patents with no clear common single classification, the Registry will assign the case based on the first patent classification on the patent in question or the first patent in the Statement of Claim.
- Rule 345 clarifies that the President of the Court of First Instance will allocate judges to the panels of the local and regional divisions and the central division. The President of the Court of First Instance is therefore confirmed as an important role within the UPC.
Unified Patent Court – IT systems
The Alpha version of the case management system has been released for user testing. Users can provide feedback by signing up for an account at secure.unified-patent-court.org.
Unjustified threats on intellectual property rights
The UKIPO is carrying a consultation on unjustified threats on intellectual property rights with a closing date for comments on 13 November 2015. As noted in the excellent post at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, unitary patents and EP(UK)s within the competence of the UPC will be subject to the proposed UK threats regime which could give rise to the need for English courts to stay provisions pending the outcome of an action at the UPC.
Mark Richardson 5 November 2015