The European Unified Patent Court Names Its Judges

The Unified Patent Court ("UPC") presents 85 judges nominated for the Court of Appeal, the Central Division, and the Local and Regional Divisions.

Judges were recruited from across Europe and appointed in accordance with the decisions of the UPC Administrative Committee. The UPC will be led by German Federal Court of Justice Judge Klaus Grabinski as president of the Court of Appeal and Paris Court of Appeal Judge Florence Butin as President of the Court of First Instance. The Presidium is completed by five other judges of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance, originating from The Netherlands, Sweden, France, and two from Germany. The Hague Court of Appeal Judge Rian Kalden has been elected as Presiding Judge of the second panel of the Court of Appeal. (Read details of all the nominations).  

The European patent community is now able to envision a roadmap into the near future. As expected, the UPC panels consist of highly respected practitioners originating from countries with significant patent litigation practice. It is thus increasingly evident that many plaintiffs will take advantage of the new court from the outset. 

As most of the appointments are on a part-time basis, it remains to be seen whether the UPC is able to realize its planned ambitious pace of proceedings in view of the workload it will face, and in view of the challenges of establishing balanced case law based on a complex but rather flexible legal framework. With prominent judges bringing in expertise for special fields of patent law—such as German Federal Court of Justice Judge Patricia Rombach, who served all of her professional life on patent and competition law panels alike—the court will be able to leave an impressive footprint on international-scale litigation, especially on global legal topics such as litigation of standard essential and pharmaceutical patents. 

The UPC Implementation Roadmap outlines the events of the coming months: The sunrise period is scheduled to start on March 1, 2023, and the UPC may start its work on June 1, 2023. We will continue to monitor developments as the sunrise period approaches and action plans are implemented.

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