UPC reason two: Pan-European enforcement
21 January 2022
Firstly, the use of a single court system avoids the scenario of different courts in different countries reaching conflicting opinions on the issue of infringement. Even more appealingly, as the Unitary Patent (UP) covers a large number of European territories, it would be possible to use the court to seek relief for infringing activities happening across all of those different countries.
The UPC offers a range of remedies to patent proprietors, most valuable of which would be the ability to seek pan-European injunctions. This greatly simplifies the process of enforcement, as a single injunction can be obtained from a single court which has effect in all member states of the UP.
Moreover, the financial recompense available in damages due to patent infringement would apply to infringing activity in all UPC member states where the patent is in force. This avoids the need for separate national proceedings to establish damages across each of the (at least) 17 member countries. This makes it practical for patent proprietors to obtain damages in respect of acts of infringement in territories where previously it would not have been cost effective to launch a separate action despite, for instance, there being significant sales of infringing products in such regions.
Further, many countries have territorial limitations on indirect (or contributory) infringement, where a defendant is supplying a key part but not the whole of a patented apparatus. Typically, it is a requirement that the eventual direct infringement, such as making the whole apparatus, also occurs in the particular country in order to bring a case for indirect infringement. As the UPC covers a large number of territories it makes it harder for a potential infringer to thwart patent coverage by making parts in different territories for assembly in a jurisdiction not covered by the patent.
In this series, we give our top 10 reasons to welcome the Unitary Patent system and explore why the system is a great thing for innovative businesses. Watch this space!