The UPC Administrative Committee has issued confirmation of the location of the various local and regional divisions of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) (see below). Whilst all other participating states will have one local court (or participate in the Nordic-Baltic regional division announced), Germany will have three local division courts – Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Mannheim.
Under the UPC Agreement, where there has been on average more than 50 patent cases a year under current national patent litigation proceedings in the states where these UPC Courts of First Instance are to be set up, there will be judicial panels of three legally qualified judges, two of whom would be local nationals of that state (or of those states in the case of the regional division), plus one technically qualified judge. The announcement from the Administrative Committee has therefore also confirmed the numbers of local legally qualified judges that each court will have (see below). For more on the structure of the UPC courts and the judiciary see the Court Structure section of our UPC Hub.
The Administrative Committee’s decision lists the following locations for local divisions of the Court of First Instance of the UPC – and the numbers of legally qualified judges to be on the panel at each:
a. Vienna, Austria – 1 Legally Qualified Judge
b. Brussels, Belgium – 1 Legally Qualified Judge
c. Copenhagen, Denmark – 1 Legally Qualified Judge
d. Helsinki, Finland – 1 Legally Qualified Judge
e. Paris, France – 2 Legally Qualified Judges
f. Düsseldorf, Germany – 2 Legally Qualified Judges
g. Hamburg, Germany – 2 Legally Qualified Judges
h. Mannheim, Germany – 2 Legally Qualified Judges
i. Munich, Germany – 2 Legally Qualified Judges
j. Milan, Italy – 2 Legally Qualified Judges
k. Lisbon, Portugal – 1 Legally Qualified Judge
l. Ljubljana, Slovenia – 1 Legally Qualified Judge
m. The Hague, The Netherlands – 2 Legally Qualified Judges
In addition, one regional division of the Court of First Instance of the Unified Patent Court will be established: the Nordic-Baltic regional division, mainly located in Stockholm, with two legally qualified judges. This regional division is expected to cover cases from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The Courts of First Instance announced cover all the states that are have currently fully ratified the UPC Agreement. Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia which are yet to do so, but are expected to participate in the longer term, cannot have their court locations confirmed until they do fully ratify of course. The seats of the central division are currently fixed as Paris and Munich, with the location of the third seat which was to have been London still undecided, although Milan looks to be a front runner.