Slow progress on ratification of the UPC Agreement & 17th draft of the UPC Rules of Procedure

13 November 2014

The ratification process for the UPC continues slowly, with five member states now having ratified. 13 member states need to ratify including France (who have already done so), Germany and the UK, for the UPC Agreement to come into force.

In the meantime, the Legal Group of the Preparatory Committee has produced a further draft of the UPC rules of procedure. This 17th draft shows the 16th draft changes in red and the 17th draft changes in blue. The Legal Group of the Preparatory Committee responsible for the 17th draft has also provided a table with explanatory notes to the changes. The UPC Preparatory Committee is holding an oral hearing on the 17th draft on 26 November 2014.

Probably the most interesting amendments are in the sections relating to bifurcation. Bifurcation will happen when there is an infringement action in a Local or Regional Division and a counterclaim for revocation is referred to the Central Division, rather than being assessed in the same court as the infringement action. This separation of infringement and validity proceedings is an integral part of current national German court proceedings and will be optional in the UPC. Bifurcation often carries the disadvantage (to the party being sued for infringement) that an injunction can be granted before the revocation case has been heard. The Legal Group has tried to mitigate the impact of this by providing acceleration of the revocation action in cases of bifurcation. 

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