UE Council agreement on a Unified Patent Court

UE Council Agreement 2013/C 175/01

Typology: Articles

With the Agreement of 20.06.2013, the European Union has established a new Unified Patent Court. The creation of “specialised courts”, whose competence is limited to disputes falling within a specific field of EU Law, was first envisaged by the Treaty of Nice in 2000; so far, only the Civil Service Tribunal has been created in 2005.

The creation of the new court follows the ratification of Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 on the single European patent, enacted last December with the enhanced cooperation procedure (due to the impossibility of Italy and Spain to achieve a compromise with the other Member States of the EU; the main reason for those two countries scepticism was due to the fact that the languages to be used for the registration of EU patents are English, French or German). The Court will begin its operations on January 1, 2014, if at least 13 of the Member States will have completed the ratification procedure, or, alternatively, four months after 13 Member States have deposited their ratification instrument.

Pursuant to art. 32 of the Agreement, the Court will have exclusive competence for: (a) actions for actual or threatened infringements of patents and supplementary protection certificates and related defences, including counterclaims concerning licences; (b) actions for declarations of non-infringement of patents and supplementary protection certificates; (c) actions for provisional and protective measures and injunctions; (d) actions for revocation of patents and for declaration of invalidity of supplementary protection certificates; (e) counterclaims for revocation of patents and for declaration of invalidity of supplementary protection certificates; (f) actions for damages or compensation derived from the provisional protection conferred by a published European patent application;  (g) actions relating to the use of the invention prior to the granting of the patent or to the right based on prior use of the invention; (h) actions for compensation for licences on the basis of art. 8 of Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012; and (i) actions concerning decisions of the European Patent Office in carrying out the tasks referred to in art. 9 of Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012.

The remedies that the Court will be empowered to grant in case of breach of the rights of patent-holders will be, inter alia, the withdrawal from commerce, the destruction (at the expense of the infringer) and compensation. This latter will be subject to a limitation period of five years. The court will also be able to grant interim relief and other temporary measures, as well as injunctions.

It will be comprised by a Court of First Instance and a Court of Appeals.

The main seat of the court will be in Paris, with “sections” in London and Munich.

There will also be two Patent arbitration and Mediation Centres –one in Ljubljana and Lisbon.

(Altalex, 5 August 2013. Article by Stefano Biondi)







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