21 October 2011

Will the Unified EU Patent Court be Situated in Munich, or rather Warsaw?

Our today's article on the ksnh::law blog speculates a bit about whether or not the Unified Patent Court may go East, e.g. to Warsaw, Poland.

An example of such a decision on where to locate may be seen in the purely political decision in the 1990s that the new Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) should reside in Alicante, Spain - instead of the the much better prepared London - since it simply was Spain's turn to receive a major EU institution.

In a couple of month's time, we will see the decision on where the first instance Central Division and the second instance Appeal Court of the EU Unitary Patent Court System will be located.

Like London in case of the OHIM, this time Munich would from a pragmatic point of view be an excellent - if not the best - location in the EU, since this city has qualified (legal) judges, experienced technical judges, the German Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht), the Eurpean Patent Office, the independent EPO Boards of Appeal, the renowned Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law, and last but not least plenty of patent law organisations and firms within its borders that all play their role in an active and professional IP scene.

However, the same kind of political vote that installed the OHIM in Alicante would now rather select a large and influencial country that does not have EU institution yet, for example – Poland

But this time it might be different, since Warsaw alredy was discussed as location of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO, once they obtain their organisatorical autonomy. In the end, the Boards of Appeal remained where they were, in Munich, since the Members of the Boards of Appeal refused to move from cosy Munich to unknown Warsaw. What can be learned from this example is that the potential Members of the new Court, i.e. legal and technical judges of well-respected national patent courts will have their say - and many of those potetial Members will definitely come from Munich, especially from the Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht) and the EPO Boards of Appeal, since the new Unified EU Patent Court will be competent for both the European patent according to the EPC and the new EU patent with unitary effect.