Following the news that Italy, France and Germany had agreed that Milan will become a section of the central division of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), alongside the Paris seat and Munich section, those countries have now presented to the UPC Administrative Committee (comprising Contracting Member States of the UPC Agreement) their agreed competences for the three locations. Under the UPC Agreement (art. 7(2) and Annex II) a central division section in London is competent for IPC Section A and C cases, but the UPC’s Communication on Administrative Committee Meeting, 2 June 2023 states that “the reference to London has become obsolete after Brexit.” The Communication reports that, with the proposed amendment of the UPC Agreement, the Milan section would be competent for IPC Section A patents (human necessities), the Munich section would also be competent for IPC Section C patents (chemistry and metallurgy) and the Paris seat for supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) based on patents from Sections A and C, and Member States will meet again on 26 June with the view to taking a decision. The Communication states that the decision would be based on art. 87(2) UPC Agreement and could be effective after 12 months, although some have doubts that the Agreement can be amended to redistribute competences between sections under the limited power conferred by art. 87(2) rather than by a Review Conference of all contracting member states. Until then the provisional allocation of the London competences remains, i.e. Paris for all IPC section (A) cases and Munich for all IPC section (C) cases. Regarding other competences, the Paris seat hears cases from IPC Sections B, D, E, G and H (which include physics and electronics) and the Munich section hears cases on patents in IPC section F (mechanical engineering, lighting, heating).
The Communication also reports that the Administrative Committee has agreed (on the basis of the opinion of the Advisory Committee) on suitable additional candidates for appointment as a technically qualified judge (about 20, to add to those already appointed) or a legally qualified judge (about 24, to add to the “reserve list”). Also, further additions will be considered later this year (on an opinion by the Advisory Committee).