UPC-series: First disagreement within the UPC on its RoP

For the time being, all the divisions of the UPC have been unanimous regarding interpretation of the RoP, but there has been a crack in this uniformity deriving from the Ocado v. AutoStore case (UPC_ CFI_11/2023). The Nordic-Baltic Regional Division issued an order upon the circumstances under which the documents can be disclosed to the public upon request. In previous cases, the Central Division of Munich explicitly rejected requests with informative and educational character.

The request before the Nordic-Baltic Regional Division pursuant to Rule 262 para.1 (b) RoP was purely informative and based on education purposes. The applicant requested access in both the orders and the pleadings of the parties. However, the Court decided not to give access to any orders, as they are regularly published according to Rule 262 RoP in the official website. Nevertheless, the Court permitted for the first-time access to pleadings of the parties, by making direct reference to Article 10 and 45 UPCA, which both highlight the public nature of the proceedings before the UPC. Ocado had appealed this order.

The decision seems to be heavily influenced by the mindset of documents’ publicity in Scandinavian countries. On the other hand, a Dutch Judge in the Munich division, who is not familiar with the overall publicity of such documents, decided in the exactly opposite way. It seems that the “couleur locale” of each division of the UPC court started to become more vivid. The outcome of the appeal will resolve the matter by giving a definite answer.