|The AmeriKat's view during Sunday evening's|
The session was organized by AIPPI's UPC and Unitary Patent Standing Committee who are tasked with exploring issues that are important to the operation of the UPC and recommending potential solutions to resolve or clarify matters. Over the past year the Committee of 28 members from 18 countries has prepared four papers. Two of these papers have addressed the uncertainty surrounding the jurisdiction and applicable law during the transitional regime under Article 83. The other two papers have asked a series of survey questions to AIPPI's National and Regional Groups and Indpendent Members. The first survey relates to how various national courts interact with EPO oppositions (i.e. whether national revocation proceedings are stayed pending the outcome). The second survey relates to how national courts treat court fees in patent actions. The purpose of these surveys is to identify common themes on how these issues are addressed in order to inform and make recommendations to the Preparatory Committee and Member States on these issues.
|It is what is NOT in Article 83 that is|
causing all the confusion.
|Ratification of the UPC -|
Judge Meier-Beck stated that he thought that there was an over-emphasis on the training of judges, especially those in the local, regional and central divisions. His main concern was ensuring that the judges in the Court of Appeal are sufficiently experienced as the appellate court will have a crucial role to play in the initial years of the UPC system. The role of the Court of Appeal also has to be determined (i.e. will it adopt an English or German type approach on how it handles appeals, for example?). He also noted that there are more technical judges on the appeallate panel than at first instance. Therefore, he said litigants could expect going into more technical details on appeal than they may have expected, including at first instance. Giving advice to the new UPC judges, Judge Meier-Beck recalled his early days as a judge. He said that the best way to learn is watch experienced judges which lead Thierry to comment that the current group of highly experienced patent judges in Europe must be encouraged to have a role as a UPC judge. Judge Meier-Beck also commented that the legally qualified judges should also embrace the technical details of the case and not rely only on technical judges to do so.
Michael also commented that one of the most underestimated threats to the UPC system are the wider issues that come up during patent litigation, including matters of joint tortfeasorship and contract law, which are not harmonized under European law. Although there were attempts to look into this issue a few years ago, it was put on ice as the focus from legislators was to get the UPC Agreement signed. This was something that needed to be considered as a matter of urgency.
After a short round of questions from the floor, the session concluded. The key point coming from the discussion was that although the ratifications are rolling in, there are still several issues that remain uncertain. Although there will always be uncertainty given that this is a new system, the more that these issues are considered and discussed in advance of the system, the more chance the system, the judges and the litigants will be equipped to tackle them.
The AmeriKat will be back later with reports from today's Pharma and trade mark sessions and the trade secrets question. She is also compiling a repository of presentations and resolutions which she will share with the Kat's readers in a follow-up consolidated post.