UPC-series: Making the UPCA more attractive

After plenty of difficulties and years of disagreement, the UPC opened its doors on 1st of June 2023, and it has more than 100 active cases already. Even though it seems like a successful start, many EU members are not members of the UPCA or the ratification of the agreement is pending. For example, Spain has not even signed the UPCA yet. It is predicted that more member states will participate in the UPCA, but there are certainly ways to make the new Unified Patent system more attractive.

Court fees at the UPC are high for the time being. The fixed fee for an action, such as an infringement action, is EUR 11.000 and the fixed fee for a revocation action is EUR 20.000. The variable fee could be from EUR 0 to EUR 325.000 depending on the value of the dispute. On the contrary, the fee for the opposition before the EPO costs only EUR 840. A solution could be to reduce fees for medium and small size companies, so that the court fee paid could be analogical to the economical power of the entity.

The language regime is another issue that can pose obstacles for new signatory parties. The linguistic difficulties were also the primary obstacle for the establishment of the UPC. With the new UPC system these difficulties were overcome as the Regional Divisions can designate one or more as official languages of the proceedings and the parties can agree on the selected language of the proceedings, which can also be other than the one in which the patent was granted in. This means that usually the language, most likely claimant’s language, used before the Court of First Instance is going to be the official national language.

It is foreseeable that more members will enter actively into the UPC system. Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Romania, and Slovakia have signed but are yet to ratify the UPCA. Nonetheless, Spain, Poland, and Croatia are not participants in the Agreement.

Areas of Law

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