Still want to be a UPC judge? UPC Preparatory Committee seeking new "top-up" applicants

If it wasn't for the "self-motivation"
requirement, Merpel would make
her UPC application 
May 2016.  It was a simpler time.  The Brexit referendum hadn't happened.  No one could have contemplated the current holder of the US presidency taking office.  Jurisdictional battles in IP were confined to memories of Actavis v Lilly and pan-European DNIs, not, what is essentially, the scope of a damages inquiry.  And, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) was on its way.  So much so, that about this time last year the UPC Preparatory Committee (PrepComm) was recruiting judges (see AmeriKat post here on the requirements and process).  

Then Brexit happened (although that didn't stop the UK from ratifying) and then the German constitutional challenges happened (which did stop Germany from ratifying, at least for now).  And then it went quiet - save for the endless (and mostly unfounded) rumors that a decision from the German court was forthcoming.  

But in the past few weeks there as been a pick-up in more official activity.  More sounds coming from higher-ups and "those in the know" about ramping up the UPC process.  And then, yesterday, the UPC PrepComm published a post entitled "UPC Judicial Recruitment - 2019 Top-up Campaign now open!"  Note the use of the exclamation mark (a device the AmeriKat is a fan of to ensure that her e-mails are read in the spirit in which they are intended, but not one she thought she would see on the PrepComm's website).  

The post continues:
"Following the major recruitment campaign in 2016 for judicial positions (both legal and technical) of the UPC, the Preparatory Committee has agreed to re-open recruitment for judicial positions to new applications.
Given it has been three years since the last campaign, it is now right to call for new applications. This will allow those that were not eligible, or decided not to apply three years ago, to submit an application provided they now meet the correct criteria.
This new 2019 campaign will be a ‘top-up’ exercise to complement the recruitment held three years ago.
Therefore, if you applied in 2016 you do not need to re-apply or submit new information."
So if you didn't think you were qualified in 2016, but in the past 3 years you have become a national of one of the Member States that signed the Unified Patent Court Agreement, have improved your English, French or German, and now have extensive experience in patent litigation, initiative and self-motivation and re-reading the UPC Rules of Procedure sounds like fun, you have another chance to join the ranks of potential UPC technical and legally-qualified judges. 

The deadline is midnight CET on 29 July 2019.   You can apply here.  Information on the selection process is here. 

Still want to be a UPC judge? UPC Preparatory Committee seeking new "top-up" applicants Still want to be a UPC judge? UPC Preparatory Committee seeking new "top-up" applicants Reviewed by Annsley Merelle Ward on Tuesday, June 04, 2019 Rating: 5


  1. When looking at Art 10 of the Statute, I would not be inclined to apply for a job as judge at the UPC.

    According to Art 10(1) Statute, “A judge may be deprived of his or her office or of other benefits only if the Praesidium decides that that judge no longer fulfils the requisite conditions or meets the obligations arising from his or her office. The judge concerned shall be heard but shall not take part in the deliberations.”

    The whole statute is silent about means of redress for a judge removed from Office. It is an internal decision of the Praesidium which cannot presently be challenged whatsoever.

    It could for instance have been the Court of Appeal sitting in the composition when deciding upon a referral, cf. R 238A UPC. It could have been the CJEU, but as the CJEU should play a role as small as possible in the UPCA, this possibility was clearly not envisaged.

    As for many supranational organisations, it might be the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva (ILO-AT). The Statute is silent on this point either. The experience shown when dealing with complaints of staff members of the EPO, it is not a court one could rely upon to see his rights guaranteed. Unless the management of a supranational organisation makes a gross mistake, the ILO-AT merely checks if the procedure has been respected, but not if the procedure is unfair or biased in favour of management.

    The same considerations are valid presently for the position of member of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO, as it is the clear aim of the new regulations to dismiss some of them after a first five year period, as it is the case for newly recruited examiners. Unless I would have a possibility to go back in my previous job, it is a delicate decision to take. This is the more so nowadays, as on top of it, former members of the Boards have to ask permission by the AC of the EPO to exercise any activity be it gainful or not.

    One could expect that judges of the UPC might be later faced by a similar decision of the Administrative Committee of the UPCA.

    The whole idea to have judges which can be reappointed, but where the reappointment criteria are not public, does not correspond to the idea of a truly independent judge. At the UPC it is even worse as judges can be part-time judges! See Art 3(5 and 6)-Statute. I do not know any legal system in which part-time judges are employed when it comes to dealing with multi-million assets.

    That such a treaty has been ratified by numerous parliaments shows that their members did not look into detail at what they were actually ratifying.

    Techrights: FINGERS OFF!!!


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