The Unified Patent Court (UPC) case finder search facility enables the public to search for cases filed in the UPC. It’s pleasing that the tool has been designed with ease of use in mind: it has a reasonable number of search fields, it sits under the umbrella of the UPC’s website and it doesn’t call for any login.
However, more work is needed for it to make the UPC transparent. Currently, information returned is patchy at best and the results shown are inconsistent with one another. The process of retrieving information relating to UPC cases brought to mind the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Beware of the Leopard:
“But look, you found the notice didn’t you?” “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”
The Leopard’s Spots
The tool enables users to search for cases by case number, patent number, party type (claimant or defendant), party names as well as types of proceedings.
A search for “Claimants” undertaken on 8 June resulted in 8 hits (3 revocation actions filed in English, 4 infringement actions in German and 1 infringement action in Italian) – see screen shot below.
However, the search leaves us asking for more. Who are the parties? Which division has each claim been filed in? Who are the representatives? Have all cases been entered into the register? As we found out, the system is far from generating a complete caseload picture and additional searches are required to find more about the cases.
Finding the Leopard
The first case in the above screenshot shown in the results relates to Amgen’s EP 36 66 797 (Antigen Binding Proteins to Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin Kexin Type 9), which, as pointed out here is a recently filed divisional of an Amgen patent application. It is part of the EP 22 15 124 patent family (see here), which has been the subject of a global dispute on cholesterol-lowering medication. This article completes the picture by confirming that French drugmaker Sanofi filed the revocation action again the German central division.
Other cases need to be pieced together in a similar way, with the UPC’s case finder only acting as a starting point.
The second case shown in the screenshot above relates to an infringement action regarding EP 37 95 501 (a load Handling Device for Retrieving Units from a Storage), an Ocado patent which had been the subject of an entitlement challenge by Autostore in 2021, which challenge was withdrawn. Ocado de-designated the patent for the UK (see article here).
Information about the 4th case has been provided by 10x Genomics itself: 10x Genomics announced that it had filed two separate sets of proceedings in the UPC against NanoString in relation to EP 2 794 928 and EP 4 108 782 (the latter patent relates to compositions and methods or analyte detection and has been granted with unitary effect). 10x Genomics claims that NanoString’s CosMx products for RNA detection infringe its patents. The UPC’s search tool shows proceedings relating to the ‘782 patent, but there are no hits for the ‘928 patent.
Based on the patent numbers, the other infringement cases have been filed on patents owned by Kaldewei Franz GmbH, Broadcom and Ocado and the revocation actions against patents owned by Healios, Riken and University of Osaka.
The UPC case finder is a promising work in progress. We look forward to the cabinet being unlocked – and replacement of the light (and the stairs).