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07 April 2014
On March 4 2014 Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed an agreement on the establishment of a Nordic-Baltic regional division of the Unified Patent Court. Discussions and negotiations have been ongoing since February 2013, when the Unified Patent Court agreement was signed. Until recently, both Finland and Denmark were part of the discussions and it was generally believed that these countries would also participate in setting up the Nordic-Baltic regional division. However, Finland and Denmark have now both decided not to sign the agreement, assumedly because they are looking at the alternative of national local divisions. However, the agreement does not close any doors for other Nordic countries which are contracting members states of the Unified Patent Court agreement to join at a later stage.
According to the agreement, English will be the only language of proceedings. The seat of the regional divisional will be in Stockholm, Sweden. However, the intention is for cases to be heard in multiple locations to the greatest extent possible, so it appears that parties in some circumstances may have their disputes adjudicated by a panel of judges convening in any of the three Baltic states.
The Swedish national court structure for IP disputes is under revision. A Justice Ministry report published in February 2014 proposed that, as a general rule, all IP disputes be heard by a specialised IP court in Stockholm and appealed to a dedicated IP court of appeal. The report and proposal have been circulated among stakeholders for comments. In the report the Unified Patent Court is mentioned briefly, but nothing is said about how the proposed new court structure will interact with the Unified Patent Court and the future Nordic-Baltic regional division. The fact that Stockholm will be the seat of the new regional division and that the proposed IP court will also be in Stockholm opens a synergy between the two to the extent possible by the Unified Patent Court agreement.
It has been suggested that the new court structure be implemented by mid-2015. Thus, the new structure will likely be up and running around the same time as the Unified Patent Court comes into effect. In any event, substantial changes lie ahead in the area of IP dispute litigation in Sweden.
For further information on this topic please contact Sara Ulfsdotter at Advokatfirman Lindahl KB by telephone (+46 40 664 66 50), fax (+46 40 664 66 55) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Advokatfirman Lindahl KB website can be accessed at www.lindahl.se.
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