The Italian Ministry of Justice has identified the premises of the Milanese local division of the Unified Patent Court (see press release here). The division will be hosted in a new building, a few meters away from the main courthouse. The building already hosts other judicial offices and, as of today, is not entirely in use, ensuring the necessary flexibility if an expansion of the division will be needed in the future. See here for an aerial view of the San Barnaba building.

Interestingly, the Ministry’s press release does not refer to the possibility that Milan may in the future be the seat of the life sciences branch of the central division. This is probably an indication that a request of reallocation of the London branch is seen as premature in light of the current efforts to ensure continuing participation of the UK in the UPC project. This may reflect the view which is shared by many in Europe that a system without the UK would be less attractive.

This prudent approach seems to be shared by the Higher House of the Italian Parliament, where the draft bill enabling Italy to ratify the UPC Agreement is currently under examination, after having been approved by the lower House. With the opinion of 5 October, the Commission for EU affairs of the Higher House approved the wording of the draft bill, adding the following (inevitably convoluted) recommendation: “it is suggested that Italy shall host a local division of the Court of first instance and, if and the when the negotiations concerning the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union so allow, may offer itself as the candidate country to replace the London branch of the central division” (the opinion is available here). This seems to suggest that at least for the time being Italy will keep a wait and see approach until the dust of Brexit settles.  

Following the favorable opinion of the Commission, the draft bill will now have to go through a general vote in the House. Approval is expected soon, even if the voting day is not yet on the House’s schedule.