On 4 March 2014, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed an agreement on the establishment of a Nordic-Baltic regional division of the Unified Patent Court (“UPC”). The regional division will be located in Stockholm and the language of the proceedings will be English. This is the first agreement on a regional division of the UPC.
The regional division will make it possible for judges and representatives within the region to maintain and develop expertise in patent law. The establishment of a regional division in Stockholm is well in line with the Swedish Government’s proposal to establish a new court specialized in handling IP matters as well as competition and marketing law matters. For more information about the Government proposal, please see the Roschier IP & Technology Review January issue.
Furthermore, the Swedish Government has in a referral for a Government Bill proposed certain legislative amendments to the Swedish Patents Act (1967:837). The amendments are required to adapt Swedish law to the unitary patent protection and the UPC. The intention is that the proposed amendments shall enter into force at the same time as the unitary patent protection will be applicable in Sweden. According to the current timetable, the system is expected to be applicable in 2015. The referral also includes certain legislative amendments that concern priority documents and translation, which aim to increase legal certainty for patent owners. These amendments are proposed to enter into force 1 July 2014. The referral is now under consideration by the Council on Legislation.
The Swedish Government has previously, through a Government Bill (2013/14:53), proposed that national patent applications may be processed and granted in English. These amendments are also proposed to enter into force 1 July 2014.
Finland will not participate in the upcoming Nordic-Baltic regional division but will instead establish a local Finnish division of the Unified Patent Court. In Finland, all civil IP matters have already been centralized to the Market Court since 1 September 2013.