What is the structure of the UPC?

The UPC will comprise a Court of First Instance and a Court of Appeal. At first instance, there will be Central, Local and Regional divisions located geographically in participating EU Member States, Regional divisions being for states that wish to share resources or judicial experience. All divisions (Central, Local and Regional) will have multi-national panels of judges.

The administrative “seat” of the Central Division will be located in France but its work will be split between three sections, located in the United Kingdom (London), France (Paris) and Germany (Munich), depending on the technical classification of the patent being litigated. The UK section will hear a broad range of cases, including pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, agricultural and medical devices; the German section will hear mechanical and weapons cases, and the French section will hear telecommunications, electrical and other cases. The UPC will refer questions of EU law to the Court of Justice of the EU, just as national courts in member states of the EU do now. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has rendered the long-term future of the London divisions uncertain. If on leaving the EU the UK also leaves the UPC system then the London branch of the Central Division will probably relocate to Italy.

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