Milan competes with London for Unified Patent Court

November 28, 2017

Despite recent struggles with the Unitary Patent, Milan actively continues to present itself as the ideal candidate to host the central division of the Unified Patent Court, in case London loses the court due to the Brexit.

Milan presented its case at the conference: ‘Industry, Creativity, Trademarks and Patens: the role of Milan and Lombardy in the Italian System’ on the 17th of November.

The matter was discussed by the EPO, the Italian Patent and Trademark Office of the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Italian Industry Property Consultants Institute.

According to Italy, Milan would be a perfect candidate due its IP activity. Data from the Chamber of Commerce of Milan show that Lombardy, the region Milan is situated in, is the most active Italian region both for national and European patents. As expected, Milan is the leading city in the region. In Lombardy fifty national patents are filed every day, with 15,048 European Patents filed between 2005 and 2015.

Milan is persistent
It is not the first time Milan has been suggested as an alternative to London. The Italian Industrial Property Consultants Institute wrote to the Italian prime minister in August, asking him to back Milan as the new location of the court. One of many letters devoted to the topic. An overview of all letters and documents published by the Institute on the matter can be found here.

Italy also ratified the UPC and recently approved the bill on enforcement of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the UPC, strengthening its position at the negation table.

Germany and other problems
Whether the Court will actually be established in Milan is dependent on many factors. First of all, no final decision on the Court in London has been made. The location of the Court, and the participation of the UK in the UPC Agreement in general, depend partially on the Brexit negotiations and on the speed of establishment of the Unitary Patent.

Currently, Germany is delaying the start of the Unitary Patent significantly due to a pending court case. If, as some predict, this becomes a matter of years, the participation of the UK in the UPC Agreement will be jeopardized. The Brexit is to become official in March 2019. Participation in the UPC Agreement will require serious legal creativity and support from the remaining EU member states.