Laurent Teyssèdre, editor of Le Blog du Droit Européen des Brevets was the first to report more details on the “EU Patents Package”. Here is the portion of the decision of the European Council which is the most interesting for us:
3. Heads of State or Government of the participating Member States agreed on the solution for the last outstanding issue of the patents package, namely the seat of the Central Division of the Court of First Instance of the Unified Patent Court (UPC). That seat, along with the office of the President of the Court of First Instance, will be located in Paris. The first President of the Court of First Instance should come from the Member State hosting the central division.
Given the highly specialised nature of patent litigation and the need to maintain high quality standards, thematic clusters will be created in two sections of the Central Division, one in London (chemistry, including pharmaceuticals, classification C, human necessities,classification A), the other in Munich (mechanical engineering, classification F).
Concerning actions to be brought to the central division, it was agreed that parties will have the choice to bring an infringement action before the central division if the defendant is domiciled outside the European Union. Furthermore if a revocation action is already pending before the central division the patent holder should have the possibility to bring an infringement action to the central division. There will be no possibility for the defendant to request a transfer of an infringement case from a local division to the central division if the defendant is domiciled within the European Union.
We suggest that Articles 6 to 8 of the Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection to be adopted by the Council and the European Parliament be deleted.
I think that it is in particular the last paragraph that will cause a collective sigh of relief in the community. Finally, the constant criticism by the experts in the field (see e.g. Professor Krasser's opinion and Sir Robin Jacob's opinion) has been successful despite of the deplorable lack of transparency (see J. Pagenberg's letter here). While I think that the role of the blogosphere is still small, I think that the great efforts of the AmeriKat Annsley Merelle Ward to keep us infromed might have contributed to this late turn of events. Thanks a lot for this!
Laurent also gives details on the time schedule. The new system shall be up and running on April 1, 2014 ;-)