Organization of the JUB

First case

The central division

Location

The central division of the JUB is spread over three distinct geographic sites (article 7.2 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) :

  • Paris (which is the headquarters of the central division),
  • London section (which will probably be replaced by another site due to Brexit, probably Milan),
  • Munich section.

Yes, I know… it starts well when a central division is not centralized 🙂

Composition

The central division sits in formation of 3 multinational judges (article 8.1 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court), or (section 8.6 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) :

  • 2 legally qualified judges of two different nationalities;
  • 1 technically qualified judge in the field considered.

If the case concerns an action against the EPO in the course of its duties (Article 8.6 together Article 32.1.i of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court), 3 legally qualified judges sit.

The parties may decide that a single legally qualified judge shall decide their case (Article 8.7 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Local divisions

Introduction

In addition, member states may create on their territory (Articles 7.3 and 7.4 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) from 1 to 4 local division (s) depending on the number of cases handled per year.

Location

At this stage, the known local divisions are:

  • Austria (Vienna)
  • Belgium (Brussels)
  • Denmark (Copenhagen)
  • France paris)
  • Finland (?)
  • Germany (Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim, Munich)
  • Ireland (?)
  • Italy (Milan)
  • Netherlands (The Hague)
  • Great Britain (London).

Composition

The local divisions sit in formation of 3 multinational judges (article 8.1 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) :

  • if less than 50 cases are handled per year (on average) (article 8.2 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court)
    • 1 judge qualified legally from the member state of the local seat;
    • 2 legally qualified judges no nationals of the member state of the local seat (there is a pool of “flying” judges);
  • if more than 50 cases are processed per year (on average) (Article 8.3 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court)
    • 2 legally qualified judges from the member state of the local seat;
    • 1 legally qualified judge no national of the member state of the local seat (there is a pool of “flying” judges - this judge can be permanently assigned to this division).

At the request of a party (Article 8.5 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) or if a counterclaim for invalidity is brought (article 33.3.a of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court), an additional technically qualified judge in the technical field concerned may be added to the training.

The request for the assignment of a technical judge must be presented as early as possible in the proceedings (Rule 33.2 of the rules of procedure) and this request must specify the relevant technical field (Rule 33.1 of the rules of procedure).

This request is satisfied if the request is presented before the end of the written procedure or if, although presented after the end, it is justified in view of a change of circumstances such as new submissions (Rule 33.2 of the rules of procedure).

The assignment of a technical judge may also be requested at any time by the reporting judge (rule 34.1 of the rules of procedure).

The parties may decide that a single legally qualified judge shall decide their case (Article 8.7 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Regional divisions

Introduction

Several member states may consult together to create a regional division together (Article 7.5 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Location

The regional division can hold its hearings in several localities.

At this stage, the known regional divisions are:

  • Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden (Stockholm).

Composition

The regional divisions sit in formation of 3 multinational judges (Articles 8.1 and 8.4 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) :

  • 2 legally qualified judges from the member states of the regional division;
  • 1 legally qualified judge no national of the regional division member states (there is a pool of “flying” judges).

At the request of a party (Article 8.5 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) or if a counterclaim for invalidity is brought (article 33.3.a of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court), an additional technically qualified judge in the technical field concerned may be added to the training.

The request for the assignment of a technical judge must be presented as early as possible in the proceedings (Rule 33.2 of the rules of procedure) and this request must specify the relevant technical field (Rule 33.1 of the rules of procedure).

This request is satisfied if the request is presented before the end of the written procedure or if, although presented after the end, it is justified in view of a change of circumstances such as new submissions (Rule 33.2 of the rules of procedure).

The assignment of a technical judge may also be requested at any time by the reporting judge (rule 34.1 of the rules of procedure).

The parties may decide that a single legally qualified judge shall decide their case (Article 8.7 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Court of Appeal

Introduction

The court of appeal hears appeals relating to the court of first instance (whether it is a central, national or regional division).

Location

The Court of Appeal at its seat in Luxembourg (Article 9.4 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Composition

The Court of Appeal sits in the formation of 5 multinational judges (Article 9.1 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) :

  • 3 legally qualified judges from 3 different member states
  • 2 technically qualified judges.

The president is then one of the judges qualified legally (article 9.2 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Arbitration and mediation center

Introduction

In order to facilitate the outcome of the dispute and to reduce costs for the parties, theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court creates an arbitration and mediation center.

It should however be noted that it is not possible to cancel or limit a patent before this mediation and arbitration center (article 35.2 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Location

The headquarters of this center are located (article 35.1 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court) :

  • in Ljubljana
  • in Lisbon.

Operation

The mediation and arbitration center fixes the operating rules, the methods of appointing arbitrators and mediators, etc.

However, it should be noted that it is not possible to cancel or limit a patent before this mediation and arbitration center (Articles 35.3 and 35.4 of theAgreement on the Unified Patent Court).

Absence of Supreme Court

It should be noted that in the organization presented above, we do not have a supreme court or a “legal” review (like the Court of Cassation for example).

Link with the Court of Justice of the Union (CJEU)

The Union Court of Justice is not per se part of the JUB.

However, it should be mentioned because it can interact with it (only in relation to questions of European law (eg Biotech) - and not in relation to questions of procedure, patentability, infringement… for example).

Indeed, in the context of preliminary questions (Rule 266 of the rules of procedure), and if the question asked seems to be necessary for the resolution of the dispute:

  • the court of first instance can ask this question to the CJEU;
  • court of Appeal must ask this question to the CJEU.

A stay can be pronounced, but in any case, no judgment can be pronounced before the response of the CJEU (Rule 266 (5) of rules of procedure).

Comments are closed.