The Italian Government has agreed with France and Germany to set up a branch of the central division of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Milan. The agreement, negotiated for Italy by the Italian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice, will be submitted to the other Contracting States of the Unified Patent Court during the next Administrative Committee meeting in order to be formalised. This is an important result for Italy and for the Lombard capital, the result of a political choice by UPC member states and intense political and diplomatic action by Italy. The Milan branch will rule on important unitary patent disputes from all European countries that have joined the UPC, in sectors relevant to the Italian entrepreneurial system. The founding treaty initially envisaged three seats. Following the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU and the Agreement establishing the UPC, it was discussed whether the seat envisaged in London should be relocated to another location, in addition to the Paris head office and the branch office in Munich.
Italy immediately made a strong case for ensuring that the third seat could be established and nominated Milan, one of Europe’s main hubs in innovation and intellectual property.
This suggestion, in the absence of indications and automatisms in the UPCA, was welcomed by the European partners, in particular by France and Germany.
In recent weeks, the Government, in agreement with the local authorities, has been completing the legal and operational procedures required for the seat to be established and operational within a year. The member states of the UPC have recognised the merits and objective reasons in support of Milan’s candidacy. The launch of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) on 1 June 2023 is a milestone for the industrial property sector at the European level. It is a successful culmination of decades of negotiations in Europe, introducing a new supranational dispute resolution instrument for European patents. As the UPC is a completely new system, the Government has ensured that the decision is in any case subject to an early review clause in 2026, much earlier than already foreseen in the Agreement (2030), which will allow for an early assessment of whether it is functioning properly, and to correct any imbalances.