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News 20 Oct 2022

UPC announces Presidium and appointment of judges

Less than two weeks ago, the UPC Preparatory Team published a roadmap of the planning required to meet the proposed target date for the new court to open on 1st April 2023. On 19th October 2022, they have taken the first significant strides along that road by announcing the judges who will be opening the doors of the courts next April.

85 judges appointed

In total, 85 judges have been appointed by the UPC Administrative Committee, including 34 legally qualified judges and 51 technically qualified judges.  Of these, most are designated as part-time judges. The full-time judges, are responsible for electing the respective Presidents of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance. These judges met in Luxembourg yesterday and in conclusion, chose Dr Klaus Grabinski (DE), as President of the Court of Appeal, and Ms Florence Butin (FR), as President of the Court of First Instance.

Dr Grabinski has been a judge in the Bundesgerichtshof since 2009 and was previously a presiding patent judge at the District Court in Düsseldorf. Ms Butin arrives from the Paris Court of Appeal, although she was until late 2021 the presiding judge in one of Paris’ three IP courts.

The Presidium is completed by Ms Rian Kalden (NL), Ms Ingeborg Simonsson (SE), Ms Camille Lignieres (FR), Mr Ronny Thomas (DE) and Mr Peter Tochtermann (DE).

Multinational Flavour

Overall, amongst the legal judges, we see a predominance of Germans with a total of twelve German judges. France has five judges, Italy and the Netherlands have four each. The technical judges are divided into five areas, namely:

  • Biotech
  • Chemistry/Pharma
  • Electricity
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics

The technical judges appear to be mainly eminent patent attorneys from their respective fields with just one or two ex-EPO Board of Appeal members. This is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the announcement as it might have been hoped that there would have been a greater presence in the central division of judges with EPO Board of Appeal experience.

No return

There still remains much work to be done and a few vacancies remain on the judges benches. Nevertheless, this marks a point of no return on the road to implementation and we look forward to the moment at which the German instrument of ratification is finally deposited and the sunrise period can officially commence.

Unitary Patent Experts

Contact our experts
Our colleagues Paul Clarkson and Rolf Suurmond, Aleksandra Zwolinska, Stijn van Dongen and Marta Alvarez Guede follow the recent developments on the Unitary Patent closely. Please contact them for any specific questions on the current status.