Brussels, 22 May 2023 — The President of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), Klaus Grabinski, has decided alone to rewrite the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) at this own will, and move London to Paris and Munich due to Brexit. FFII condemn this abuse of power and violation of the Rule of Law. This a decision typical of a dictatorship, not of an institution governed by the seperation of powers. Judge Grabinski will also have the last word over software patents in Europe, without any possible appeal to the European Court of Justice (CJEU).
The President of the UPC decided the following:
In its meeting of 8 May 2023, the Presidium of the Unified Patent Court decided that, as from 1 June 2023, actions pending before the central division related to patents in IPC section (A) shall be assigned to the seat in Paris while actions related to patents in IPC section (C) shall be assigned to the section in Munich. […] the Presidium has exercised its managerial power under Article 15(3) of the Statute of the Unified Patent Court in the aforementioned sense.— Unified-Patent-Court.org: Decision on the provisional distribution of actions related to patents in IPC sections (A) and (C) pending before the central division | Unified Patent Court (unified-patent-court.org) https://www.unified-patent-court.org/en/news/decision-provisional-distribution-actions-related-patents-ipc-sections-and-c-pending-central
Article 15(3) of the Statutes of the Unified Patent Court does not mention any power to decide on such a political topic to relocate the Court from one place to another, except a broad “management” responsability:
Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (2013/C 175/01) https://www.unified-patent-court.org/sites/default/files/upc_documents/agreement-on-a-unified-patent-court.pdf
- The Presidium shall be responsible for the management of the Court and shall in particular:
(a) draw up proposals for the amendment of the Rules of Procedure in accordance with Article 41 of the
Agreement and proposals regarding the Financial Regulations of the Court;
(b) prepare the annual budget, the annual accounts and the annual report of the Court and submit them to
the Budget Committee;
(c) establish the guidelines for the training programme for judges and supervise the implementation thereof;
(d) take decisions on the appointment and removal of the Registrar and the Deputy-Registrar;
(e) lay down the rules governing the Registry including the sub-registries;
(f) give an opinion in accordance with Article 83(5) of the Agreement.
The decision of the UPC’s President is not an item in the list between points (a)-(f), but under the broad “management of the Court” broad spectrum. This is an abuse of the Rule of Law, as judges are not supposed to rewrite the Content of Treaties. This power is the one reserved to law makers, not to judges.
The whole game is to change the Treaty without having to call for a diplomatic conference. People in Germany have invented this idea that the UPCA can be changed without a diplomatic conference, using the art87(2) UPCA, which will be active on the 1st of June 2023 at 00h01. The Administrative Committee will then rubberstamp the relocation of London competencies to Paris and Munich without having to pass by National Parliaments, despite the lack of EU law mentioning Paris and Munich. Countries are playing with fire as tribunals (here the appeal court) need to be established by LAW according to the ECHR art6.1.
German Patent attorneys firm Grünecker confirm this analysis:
Amending the UPCA by the Administrative Committee according to Art. 87 (2) UPCA “to bring it into line with […] Union law” without the necessity of a re-ratification by all member states is not an option. Stating that a section of the central division is located in London does not conflict with Union law, it is merely incorrect. [note8] Even if Art 87 (2) UPCA were applicable, it would only cover the deletion of London but not the decision about a substitute. Note8: The question whether this should lead to an amendment by the Administrative Committee a fortiori shall not be discussed here— Grünecker Patent: UPC 2.0, Is there a chance for a new German Act of Approval to the UPCA?, Ulrich Blumenröder, Julia Hinkelmann, April 2020 https://grunecker.de/fileadmin/Gruenecker/Informationen/UPC/Aufsaetze/UPC2.0-UB_FrHinkelmann09-04-2020.pdf
The Rule of Law is dead (art2TFEU), but that we know it since the legal service of the Council decided to declare the UPCA into force despite the signature of the UK being still missing.
This decision of the President is also not challengeable in front of another tribunal, as international organizations are shielded from challenges, enjoy immunity and impunity. This is what had been created: an EPO-like monster, a new country where all abuses are now possible, including recruiting judges from Nokia or Airbus, which are like Judge Grabinski ardent supporters of software patents.
- Kluwer Patent Blog: Munich and Paris will divide competencies London seat Unified Patent Court, no Milan (yet?) – https://patentblog.kluweriplaw.com/2023/05/16/munich-and-paris-will-divide-competencies-london-seat-unified-patent-court-no-milan-yet/
- Presidium of the Unified Patent Court: Decision on the provisional distribution of actions related to patents in IPC sections (A) and (C) pending before the central division https://www.unified-patent-court.org/sites/default/files/upc_documents/final-_decision-of-presidium_distribution-of-ipc-sections-a-and-c-within-the-central-division-en.pdf
- FFII: Nokia and Airbus elected as judges at the Unified Patent Court, an unheard corruption of Justice – https://ffii.org/nokia-and-airbus-elected-as-judges-at-the-kangaroo-unified-patent-court-kupc/
- Unified-Patent-Court: “The Presidium is composed of the President of the Court of Appeal, who acts as chairperson, the President of the Court of First Instance, two judges of the Court of Appeal, three judges of the Court of First Instance, and the Registrar as a non-voting member. The Presidium makes decisions on the basis of a majority vote.” https://www.unified-patent-court.org/en/court/presidium