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Milan to join Paris and Munich as city hosting a third UPC Central Division branch



A press release of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced that the Italian Government has agreed with its French and German counterparts to set up a branch of the central division of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Milan. It is understood that the agreement will be submitted to the other member states during the next Administrative Committee meeting for it to be formalised.

According to the UPC Agreement, the central division of the Court of First Instance was to be situated in Paris, with branches in London and Munich. It had also been agreed that the London branch of the UPC Central Division would be competent over cases relating to chemistry, metallurgy and “human necessities”.

Ever since the UK’s exit from the EU, discussions have been ongoing as to whether the branch that was originally meant to be in London would be replaced and, if so, where it would be relocated.

Already back in 2020 Italy announced the intention to nominate Milan as a candidate for replacing London. Among various arguments in support of Milan’s nomination, the Italian Government stressed that, when London was designated to host a branch of the central division of the UPC, the UK was the third EU member state for number of patents, followed closely by Italy in fourth place. However, other major European cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen were also at one time considered to be in the running.

With the UPC agreement about to finally enter into force on June 1st 2023, the UPC announced only days ago a decision according to which competencies which were originally assigned to the London branch of the UPC central division would provisionally be divided between the Munich and Paris branches. In more detail, actions related to patents in IPC section A (“human necessities”) would be for the time being assigned to the Paris branch and actions related to patents in IPC section C would be for the time being assigned to the Munich branch.

The press release of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation does not provide any clue as to what cases the Milan seat of the UPC central division will ultimately be competent over. Thus, it remains to be seen whether all cases relating to patents in IPC sections A and C will at some point be assigned to the Milan seat, or whether the Paris and Milan branches will maintain a share of those cases, even after the third central division branch becomes operative.

If you have any questions on any aspect of the UPC system, then please do contact your usual Reddie & Grose attorney.

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

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