On July 2022 the UPC Rules of Procedure (the Rules) were announced as approved with the amendments from the previous (18th) draft from 2017 being published in tracked changes form. A consolidated final version of the Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court (also available in French and German) was published subsequently and came into force on 1 September 2022. One of the most significant changes was to opt-out procedures, as well as changes to restrict access to pleadings where previous drafts had been provided that they would be available to the public along with the new court's decisions and orders. The Rules have also been approved by the European Commission.
The main changes/additions involve:
- Opt-out and unauthorised opt-out/withdrawal (Rules 5 and 5A)
- Access to pleadings (and decisions and orders) and redaction of these for GDPR and confidentiality reasons (Rule 262)
- Redaction of information as between parties – including confidentiality clubs (Rule 262A)
- Remote hearings/video conferencing for whole hearings/individuals (Rule 112)
- Signing of lodged documents and electronic submissions generally (Rule 4)
- Various amendments to allow notification of the defendant in ex parte applications
- Cooperation with other EU courts and third state courts re taking of evidence
- Judicial impartiality
- Decisions by default
- The non-suspensory effect of certain categories of appeal
Most of these changes have been made to bring the procedure up to date, allowing for the more on-line nature of court interactions post-pandemic, or where the opportunity to consider the rules in a more practical context has arisen and gaps have become apparent. We deal with each of the above in more detail in our blog post here.
For details on Costs and Court Fees see the Costs and Fees section of this UPC and UP hub.
For more on the UPC and unitary patent see our series of feature articles published in PLC Magazine's March and April editions 2022 and shared in pdf form on our IP blog here and the rest of this hub.