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Unified Patent Court: Judicial situations vacant

The Unified Patent Court has published its vacancy notice for applications to be a judge.

The notice includes adverts for full part time legally-qualified judges as well as full and part time technically-qualified judges.  The closing date for applications is 4 July 2016.

Applicants for the legally-qualified roles will apply for six-year terms.  They must be nationals of a UPC signature state to apply, and by the time of appointment (in “early 2017”) the state of which they are a national must have ratified the UPC Agreement.  The candidate must be eligible for judicial office in that state, which in the UK means the High Court of England and Wales or the Scottish Court of Session and is likely to involve a minimum of seven years’ relevant experience.

Technically-qualified judges are required to have a university degree, proven expertise in a field of technology and proven knowledge of civil law and procedure relevant in patent litigation.

Ideal candidates for both legal and technical roles should have:

  • extensive experience in the field of patent litigation,
  • initiative, high degree of commitment and self-motivation and a proactive approach to ensure efficiency and high quality of proceedings at the UPC,
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a judicial panel or specialist team, and to meet tight deadlines,
  • well-developed written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills,
  • strong analytical skills,
  • the capacity to work in a multinational and multilingual environment.

Net monthly salaries for the full-time roles are €11,000 at the Court of First Instance and €12,000 for the Court of Appeal, along with a pension and benefits package.

WAB comment

The UPC will be judged on the quality of its judicial decisions, so it is important that the first decisions promote confidence in the system.

The procedure of the UPC, with its multinational panels, short oral hearings and increased reliance on paper submissions, will mark a real difference in approach from English Patent Court proceedings, characterised by single judges, extensive oral argument and long hearings.  To miminise opt-outs from the new regime, the UPC judiciary will need to be up to the challenging job.

There were initial concerns that the salaries would be significantly lower than those of judges in states such as the UK and that the best potential candidates not be interested.  However a net salary of €11,000 a month with benefits compares favourably to the remuneration of a High Court Judge.  Hopefully the quality of the appointed judges will reflect that.

See all of our articles about the UPC here.  If you have any queries about these issues, please contact our patent litigation specialists Victoria Wright and Nicholas Mitchell.

Disclaimer: This article is produced for and on behalf of White & Black Limited, which is a limited liability company registered in England and Wales with registered number 06436665. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The contents of this article should be viewed as opinion and general guidance, and should not be treated as legal advice.

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