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Structure of the Unified Patent Court

The UPC will comprise a Court of First Instance and a Court of Appeal, with the Court of First Instance being organised into Local and Regional Divisions, as well as a Central Division.

The Court Structure

The court structure

Locations of the Unified Patent Court

The Agreement on a Unified Patent Court provides in Art 7 (2) three seats of the Central Division to be established in Paris, Munich and London, but the latter will have to be amended in view of the Brexit.

  • Paris will handle cases relating to physics, electricity, transportation, textiles and paper, fixed constructions and performing operations patents;
  • Munich will deal with patents on mechanical engineering, lighting, heating, blasting and weapons;
  • The third branch will hear cases relating to chemistry, life sciences, metallurgy and human necessities.

The Court of Appeal will be based in Luxembourg.

In the inaugural meeting of the Court’s Administrative Committee on 23 February 2022 various Member States such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France and Germany (4 local divisions) as well as Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden (regional Nordic-Baltic division) and Portugal officially confirmed their intention of setting up a local or regional division of the UPC.

Composition of the benches

Cases will generally be heard by a panel of three to five judges, comprising a mixture of legally-qualified and, in some circumstances, technical judges from different Member States. Each panel will be chaired by a legally qualified judge.

Courts of First Instance (Art. 8 UPCA):

  • The panels of a Regional or Local Division shall sit with three legally qualified judges; in certain scenarios, a technically qualified judge may be added.
  • While a panel of three judges will hear the cases in front of the Central Division. The bench will consist of two legally and one technically qualified judge with qualifications and experience in the field of technology concerned.

Appeal Instance (Art. 9 UPCA):

The bench of the Court of Appeal will be composed of five judges, namely three legally qualified judges from different Member States and two technically qualified judges with qualifications and experience in the field of technology.

The European Unified Patent System