Category : Unified Patent Court (UPC)

UPC: Background & Overview

After two unsuccessful attempts to create a “Community Patent” in 1973 and 1989, the European Commission finally tabled the unitary patent proposal in 2011. (See European Parliament website for more information).

The system was supposed to be operational during the first semester of 2017, but due to the importance of the UK in the system, the “Brexit” referendum in June 2016 delayed its entry into force. Stakeholders now wish that it takes place before the end of 2017.  

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Can European Patent Attorneys represent parties before the UPC?

The role of representation of European patent attorneys before the UPC

According to article 48 of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPCA), there is an obligation for parties to be represented. Article 48(1) provides for the representation by a “lawyer” authorized to practice before a court of an EU Member State as a general principle, whereas under article 48(2), European patent attorneys authorized before the EPO under A.134 EPC may represent parties before the Unified Patent Court (UPC), provided “they have appropriate qualifications such as European patent litigation certificate”.

This language suggests that such Certificate is only one appropriate way among others to acquire the right of representation before the UPC for European patent attorneys.

The Administrative Committee issued Draft Rules (here) on the Certificate and other appropriate qualifications (hereafter the Draft) in March 2014, as well as a Memorandum on this Draft (here).

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