Unified Patent Court Announces Complete List of Qualified Judges

June 1, 2023

The list of legally qualified judges for the Unified Patent Court has been completed. JUVE Patent has learned that András Kupecz, a Dutch patent attorney, and François Thomas, a French judge, have been appointed to the Central Divisions in Munich and Paris, respectively, by the Administrative Committee. The Danish local division’s new chief judge in Copenhagen is Peter Agergaard.

By October 2022, the UPC Authoritative Advisory group had designated most of the UPC judges, consequently imparting trust in the new court among the worldwide patent local area. It had published a list of 85 judges at this point, 34 of whom were legally qualified and 51 of whom were technically qualified. Notwithstanding, three positions stayed void.

The Administrative Committee was unable to locate a suitable candidate for the Central Divisions in Paris and Munich, nor a Danish judge for the local division in Copenhagen. The UPC judges list is complete. As indicated by reports, a couple of up-and-comers likewise pulled out without a second to spare.

However, despite the fact that the UPC has not yet made the personnel details public, it appears that the Administrative Committee has now resolved the three open positions. Sources from JUVE Patent claim that Dutch patent attorney András Kupecz will become a full-time judge at the Central Division in Munich. His appointment to JUVE Patent was confirmed by Kupecz, who was in Luxembourg for the UPC’s official opening.

From TQJ to LQJ, Kupecz was appointed a technically qualified judge for biotech patents by the UPC in October. He has dual qualifications as a litigator and a Dutch and European patent attorney. As a legally qualified judge, Kupecz will now join the Central Division.

In 2003, Kupecz started his career at the patent law firm Los & Stigter. Later, he became an associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Amsterdam. From 2009, he worked for the prestigious patent act of Simmons and Simmons until establishing his own firm in 2013.

He remained, however, a consultant for Simmons & Simmons. He collaborated with him on numerous litigation projects in the life sciences industry, such as Samsung BioEpis’s Humira biosimilar case. During this time, Kupecz laid out areas of strength for an in the Dutch patent market.

Toward the start of May, Kupecz affirmed to JUVE Patent that he had withdrawn his most recent law office, Pinsent Bricklayers, to completely zero in on his job as a parttime UPC judge. He had joined the new Amsterdam office as a partner in late 2021, making him another recent addition to the IP team at Pinsent Masons.

A Frenchman in Paris There was a vacancy at the Central Division in Paris after the UPC judges were announced in October. This position has now been filled by French judge François Thomas, as the Administrative Committee informed JUVE Patent. Thomas is at present managing judge at the Court of Allure of Versailles where he manages business case, including unreasonable contest.

However, he is not unfamiliar with the Paris IP scene: François Thomas served as judge and presiding judge at the IP chamber of the Paris Court of First Instance from September 2012 to January 2016. He was appointed a judge at the IP chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal in June 2016, and he will remain there until September 2020. He then relocated to the Versailles Court of Appeal.

An internal UPC document indicates that Peter Agergaard has been selected by the Administrative Committee as the permanent judge for the Copenhagen local division. He will manage the division, which will be set up with one Danish adjudicator and two pivoting unfamiliar appointed authorities.

Agergaard, in contrast to András Kupecz and François Thomas, is relatively unknown in the field of European patent law at this time. At this time, JUVE Patent does not know anything about his career.

Vulnerability because of specialized judges
Albeit the rundown of legitimately qualified judges is presently finished, the Managerial Council actually has work to do with the arrangement of in fact qualified judges. A recent heated debate regarding the compatibility of the UPC judgeship with the practice of law was sparked by a discussion regarding the independence of TQJs who simultaneously work as patent attorneys in private practice or in patent departments and a very stringent Code of Conduct.

Grégoire Desrousseaux, a dual-qualified litigation partner at August Debouzy, a leading French firm in the market, left his position as TQJ just last week via LinkedIn. The UPC Overarching set of principles was as of late distributed. My current actions, in my opinion, are largely incompatible with the position of UPC TQJ because of this Code of Conduct. As a result, I have resigned from this position and will continue to practice law as a patent attorney,” Desrousseaux wrote.

UPC stays hopeful
Other patent lawyers are supposed to leave their situation as TQJ before long. However, the UPC appears ready. JUVE Patent was informed by Willem Hoyng, chair of the UPC Advisory Committee, at the beginning of May that the UPC is well-equipped to handle resignations.

According to Hoyng, “The UPC received 329 applications during the last recruitment round for technically and legally qualified judges for the reserve list, of which approximately 150 were from potential technically qualified judges.” These candidates are employed by national courts, national patent offices, and other institutions rather than in private practice. So there will be definitely no issue in ensuring that, toward the beginning of the UPC there are adequate quantities of actually qualified passes judgment on not working in confidential practice.”

Source – Juve

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