The launch of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) on 1 June marks the most radical reform of the European patent system in decades.
The European Patent (EP), actually a bundle of national patents in selected EU member states, will have to make room for European patents with unitary effect (Unitary Patents - UPs), which territorial scope will extend to all 24 participating states and the country-by-country litigation approach will face serious competition from the UPC: an entirely new multinational court for pan- European patent litigation.
The new UPC system offers exciting opportunities for patentees and implementers, as it creates a single approach to patent registration and enforcement across the UPC states. This gives practitioners a new perspective on patent strategy and on enforcement of patent portfolios. At the same time, alleged infringers will be able to establish their market position faster than before by having a UP revoked or by asking for a declaration of non-infringement.
“In our IP practice we focus on complex, cutting-edge, multi-jurisdictional litigation, and of course patent litigation is part of that. In our practice we operate in the forefront of cross-border litigation end have built up ample experience in coordinating EU or worldwide IP litigation cases. With the tech expertise in the team and being involved in the most important FRAND cases, we are geared up for UPC litigation. From the UPC Agreement and Rules of Procedure, it is already clear that many strategic choices are available, both for plaintiffs and defendants.”
De Brauw is well positioned to assist clients with this milestone development, and in setting steps in the UPC arena. Our IP/Tech team - which forms an integrated part of the 150+-lawyer-strong Litigation practice - was closely involved in preparations for the UPC. Our multidisciplinary approach and strong track record makes us particularly well-suited for complex, multidisciplinary cases, including enforcement of pharmaceutical patents in the UPC system, and litigation in the new area of standard essential patents (FRAND litigation). We have a solid network in all important jurisdictions and operate in international teams.
The thinking behind De Brauw's UPC team is that the size and scope of UPC proceedings is likely to be larger, while at the same time the deadlines are short and judges have different national backgrounds. This is why our UPC team consists of not only Dutch patent litigators, but also includes a network of leading patent litigators in other EU jurisdictions, which we can quickly involve and with which we work seamlessly. We can also rely on our deep experience with large complex litigation projects, built up in non-IP cases (mass claims, follow on cartel damage claims, etc). Our UPC team also includes members from our arbitration practice (with different national backgrounds) who have specific experience with the kind of hearings and witness cross examinations that we anticipate at the UPC. We complement this with technical expertise in different technical fields. For FRAND cases we call on our leading competition law colleagues, that have ample experience in dealing with these kind of cases. By having a diverse, broad and flexible team, we believe we can provide the best possible service and the highest level of expertise that can make the difference in litigation before the UPC.