Report from the 1st case of the Central Division Paris - Insights from the main hearing in an isolated revocation proceedings

I am pleased to share reflections from our recent participation in our first main hearing before the Paris Seat of the Central Division, which I attended so far, along with my colleagues and fellow UPC representative, Jasper Werhahn and Niels Schuh. It was the hearing of the first case in Paris!

Conduct of the Proceedings
In accordance with the provisions outlined in the UPCA, the hearing was conducted by a panel of three judges, including one with technical expertise, Ulrike Keltsch. The session was efficiently orchestrated by the presiding judge and the judge-rapporteur. The presiding judge succinctly introduced the case, setting the stage for a focused and effective hearing.

Duration and Discussion
The proceedings were notably concise, lasting approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes, which included a brief intermission. Diverging from the typical Q&A format often observed at the EPO and German courts, the judges in Paris favored a streamlined approach to pleadings. They also permitted concise responses to the opposing party’s arguments. It remains to be seen which procedural style will dominate future UPC proceedings.

Judicial Interactions
An interesting dynamic observed was the interplay between the judges. Although the presiding judge, François Thomas, primarily directed the hearing, there were moments when the Judge Rapporteur, Paolo Catallozzi, intervened to clarify specific points related to the case for the parties involved.

Decision Announcement
In contrast to some national practices where decisions are often announced at the end of the hearing, the Central Division did not announce a decision. The final decision is expected to be communicated in writing within approximately six weeks, adhering to the UPC's commitment to expeditious procedural resolution.

Key Takeaways from the Central Division in Paris:

  • Interest in coherent pleadings: The Hearing in Paris was characterized by coherent pleadings rather than a Q&A format.
  • Interaction Opportunities: Judges allowed the parties to briefly respond to their counterpart's pleadings, emphasizing the importance of direct engagement while discouraging redundant arguments.
  • Significant Role of the Judge Rapporteur: While the proceedings were predominantly led by the presiding judge, the involvement of the Judge Rapporteur in providing detailed clarifications was significant