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English now a language of proceedings in all Local & Regional Divisions except Milan

By James Ward, Partner

On 1 June 2023, the day that the Unified Patent Court has come into effect, the Court also announced that English will now be a language of proceedings at the Local Divisions in France (Paris) and Germany (Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim, Munich). Parties are therefore now able to bring actions at these Local Divisions in English and to plead in English at trial. These Local Divisions have however made use of an exception in the rules of procedure to allow the judges to issue orders and decisions in the respective local language (French or German) and for a judge to speak in the local language at trial.

The Local Division in Milan is now the only Local Division in which English is not a possible language of proceedings. There, proceedings will have to be brought in Italian. It is nevertheless possible that in a particular case the parties and the Milan Local Division could agree to use the language of the patent instead of the local language.

The other Local Divisions, in all of which English can be used, are Vienna, Brussels, Copenhagen, Helsinki, The Hague, Lisbon and Ljubljana. English is also the only language of proceedings at the Regional Division covering Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, having its main seat in Stockholm.

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