Article

UPC Insights: New technical judges appointed from courts and IPOs

Published Date
Aug 22, 2023
The Unified Patent Court (UPC) recently announced the appointment of 21 new technically qualified judges (TQJ) to the pool of judges of the pan-European court.

The new TQJs are mainly judges from technical courts and IPOs of the various participating member states and will work part time for the UPC. The appointment will greatly improve the availability of suitable TQJs for cases in which TQJs from private practice or in-house departments are unavailable according to the UPC code of conduct. 

The new judges are spread across all of the technical fields - seven new judges in chemistry, pharmaceutics, and biotech, six in mechanical engineering and eight in electronics and physics. The majority (nine) of the newly appointed judges are Germans, which coincides with most of the initial cases at the UPC being filed at the German local divisions and in German language. Four judges are French, three Swedish, two Dutch and one each are Finnish and Austrian. 

While there are some (former) members of the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeals amongst the newly appointed TQJs, many new judges are examiners at national patent offices and seven of the German judges are members of the German Federal Patent Court. This raises the question whether the UPC might take an approach to validity different from that of the European Patent Office – which was initially expected given that most of the TQJs appointed to date have been European Patent Attorneys. The new appointments seem to indicate that the UPC will in any case eventually develop its own approach to validity.

The UPC has announced that it will appoint further TQJs later this year. A list of the newly appointed TQJs can be found on the UPC website.

Read more insights at our UPC hub.

Content Disclaimer
This content was originally published by Allen & Overy before the A&O Shearman merger