In the Unified Patent Court (UPC) the language of proceedings is determined by art. 49 UPC Agreement and Rule 14 UPC Rules of Procedure. In the central division, it will be the language in which the patent was granted, i.e. English, French or German. In a local/regional division, however, the choice of language is initially at least determined by the claimant from the languages offered by that division. That will include the local official language(s) and/or (under art. 49(2)) one or more of the EPO languages, i.e. English, French or German. The UPC has now published a list of languages presently offered by each division, although noting that: “Additional languages may be designated under Article 49(2) UPCA- the table will be updated accordingly.” It appears from this initial list that all local divisions, other than those in Germany, France and Italy, will offer English as an option and the regional division (Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) will hear proceedings only in English. The local divisions in Germany, France and Italy appear at the outset at least to only offer their local language (German, French and Italian respectively). In certain circumstances, regardless of the languages offered by a division, the language of the patent may be used, for example: if the parties agree and the panel approves (and if no approval, parties may request transfer to the central division); or if decided by the President of the Court of First Instance if one party requested but the other(s) did not agree (the President having considered the circumstances and the parties’ positions – particularly the defendant’s position).
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