Milan soon to be the third seat of the UPC Central Division: agreement signed between Italy and the Unified Patent Court

Milan will be competent for the “human necessities” sector, and it should be operational in summer 2024 14 February 2024

In June 2023, the UPC Administrative Committee unanimously decided to set up a section of the central division of the UPC in Milan (decision based on Article 87 (2) UPCA).

At that time the UPC stated that such a decision could already be effective after 12 months, estimating that the Milan section of the central division could be operational in summer 2024.

Until that time, Paris Central Division would have been entrusted with the IPC Section A patents cases which then would go to Milan.

On 26 January 2024, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Headquarters Agreement between the UPC and Italy has been signed. The formal signing took with Nicola Verola representing Italy as the Director General for Europe, and Klaus Grabinski, the President of the Court of Appeal, signing for the UPC.

The signature of the Headquarters Agreement comes after the UPC Administrative Committee decision of June 2023 and following the International Training Days of the UPC held in Milan in November.

In a nutshell:

  • Milan will be competent for IPC Section patents (A) (human necessities, not including supplementary protection certificates (SPCs): comprising the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, the agricultural industry, the food industry, the tobacco industry, the home appliances industry, the clothing industry, the wood and furniture industry, the fire-fighting industry, and the sports and gaming industry);
  • Munich will be competent for IPC Sections  patents (C) (chemistry, metallurgy (not including SPCs)) and (F) (mechanical engineering, lighting, heating, weapons, blasting);
  • Paris will be competent for IPC Sections patents (B) (performing operations, transporting), (D) (textiles, paper), (E) (fixed constructions), (G) (physics), (H) (electricity), and all SPCs, regardless of whether the relevant medicinal product falls in section (A) or section (C).

The competences of the central divisions of the UPC are different from those of the local and regional divisions of the UPC. In general, the latter are assigned cases of patent infringement (optionally including counter-claims for patent revocation), while the central divisions of the UPC are responsible for all cases of patent revocation, as well as cases of infringement for non-EU defendants.

Furthermore, Milan is already one of the UPC local division headquarters (also the first to issue a decision for an emergency precautionary measure at the very onset of the UPC back in June 2023).

With the new agreement, Milan will also have jurisdiction to rule on the validity of Unitary and non-opted out European patents in the IPC (A) section, excluding SPCs, therefore completing the entire scenario of possible competences.


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