Italian Foreign Ministry supports Milan as potential host of UPC central division


Since the “Brexit” vote on 23 June 2016,  Italian patent attorneys, lawyers, officials in Lombardy (of which Milan is the capital) and others have been arguing that, if the Unified Patent Court (UPC) goes ahead without the UK, Milan should replace London as the location of a section of the UPC’s central division. Under the UPC Agreement, the central division is to have its seat in Paris with sections in London and Munich –  the London section dealing with cases in the chemical, pharmaceutical and life science sectors. One argument for that section being located in Italy (if the UK does not participate in the UPC) is that Italy is the fourth EU state (after France, Germany and the UK) in which the highest number of European patents had effect in 2012 and, therefore, under the UPC Agreement would replace the UK as one of the three mandatory ratifying countries. Several reasons have been cited for Milan being the most appropriate location in Italy.  These were reiterated recently at a public event in Milan, which was attended by Italian patent attorneys, lawyers, MPs and others and organised by Milan’s Bar Association to persuade the government to support Milan’s bid to host the section; for example, the President of the Lombardy Regional government referred to the number of European patent applications being filed in Milan and the many centres of scientific and medical research and technology transfer centres located there. The following day (4 December 2018), the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a press release.  In this press release, the Minister noted the views of the President and other politicians of the Lombardy Region about Milan being a candidate to host a section of the UPC’s central division. The release states that the Ministry confirms its full readiness to commit to that candidacy when the government issues an official position, which would be taken after assessing the financial implications (as the operating costs are borne by the host state).

Gregory Bacon


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