As readers will be aware, the UK has the unenviable task of developing the IT system to support the UPC. It is therefore interesting to see that potentially relevant experience of such an IT system may arise in coming months on a different project. The UK government’s Courts and Tribunals Service has announced signature of a contract to install new technology into the Rolls Building in London by the end of 2015. The Rolls Building houses the Chancery Division of the High Court, which hears patent claims in the Patents Court. The value of the contract is £5m and changes include electronic filing and case management systems; a government spokesman stated: “The IT system will provide for online filing of claims 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world. It will also provide for the subsequent electronic filing of statements of case and other documents, electronic listing capability and production of orders.”
The deadline for completing this project coincides with the UPC Preparatory Committee’s latest target date for the UPC being operational. The UK government has decided that London will be the location of one Local Division of the UPC (and currently, although the UK is entitled to at least two Local Divisions, it is likely that it will have only the one), and also a branch of the Central Division of the UPC will be based in London. However, whilst it is good to see the UK Court Administration getting experience of upgrading IT systems so as to be capable of accepting filings from all over the world, we should not get too excited yet as we understand the Rolls Building is not on the list of potential London homes for the UPC.