One year after the UPC was launched and the Local Division (“LD”) in Milan became operational, the Milan seat of the Central Division (“CD”) is now active, adding to the seats in Paris and Munich.

The Milan Central Division, located in via San Barnaba 50, 20122, is presided by Mr. Andrea Postiglione, an experienced judge at the Commercial Chamber of the Court of Rome and recently appointed as General Attorney at the Italian Supreme Court. Judge Andrea Postiglione took his oath in Milan on 21 June 2024, before the Presiding judge of the Milan LD Mr. Pierluigi Perrotti and at the presence of the other legally qualified judge of the Milan LD, Ms. Alima Zana.

Ms. Anna-Lena Klein, judge in the 21st Civil Chamber of the Regional Court of Munich and Ms. Marije Knijff, judge at the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands, are the other two judges who will work alongside Mr. Postiglione at the CD in Milan. Additional information on the Judges at the Milan Central Division are available at this link.

What is going to change with the new UPC Central Division in Milan?

As a general rule, UPC Local and Regional divisions have jurisdiction over infringement actions, while Central Divisions deal with patent validity and non-infringement actions. There are also exceptions to this general rule on allocation of cases, such as infringement actions against defendants without offices within the territory of contracting states having a Local or Regional Division. This increases the flexibility for patentees, as the CD provides another layer of forum shopping in infringement cases where the main infringer is located outside the territory of contracting member states with a Local or Regional division. 

The distribution of cases within the Milan, Paris and Munich Central Divisions is guided by the International Patent Classification (IPC) of the patent in suit, which provides for a hierarchical system of language independent symbols for the classification of patents and utility models according to the different areas of technology to which they pertain.

Milan has jurisdiction over disputes relating to patents falling under class “A” of the aforementioned IPC concerning ‘Human Necessities‘, with the exclusion of patents with SPCs. The “A” class comprises a wide range of technologies in fields such as agriculture, foodstuffs, tobacco, personal or domestic articles, health, life saving and amusement, in addition to all technologies pertaining to medical or veterinary science and hygiene, sport, jewellery, wearing apparel and more.

These technology areas are particularly relevant for Italian and European businesses, and include sectors with high patent density and litigation volumes.

According to the UPC’s latest official data on the Court’s caseload, the Paris CD handled 39 cases (1 infringement action, 2 counterclaims for revocation, 35 revocation actions and 1 declaration of non-infringement action), and the Munich CD dealt with 5 cases (1 counterclaim for revocation and 4 revocation actions).

Had the Milan Central Division been operational from the beginning together with the Munich and Paris seats, approx. 2/3 of the cases handled by the Paris CD would have been filed before the Milan CD in accordance with the IPC class of the litigated patents.