UPC Court of Appeal Decides Against Staying Revocation Proceedings in Light of Pending EPO Opposition


In a recent decision issued by the Court of Appeal of the Unified Patent Court (UPC_CoA_22/2024), the Court examined the balance between procedural efficiency and the rights to a fair trial within the context of concurrent opposition at the EPO and revocation proceedings at the UPC. The ruling contains detailed guidance on the question under which circumstances the UPC may sty its own proceedings in light of parallel EPO proceedings.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling emphasized that the mere existence of parallel EPO opposition proceedings is insufficient to justify staying UPC revocation proceedings. The decision reinforced the need for proceedings to advance without undue delay, aligning with the principles of procedural efficiency and the fundamental right to a fair and public hearing as stipulated by both the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Finally, the Court of Appeal clarified that the term “rapid” is to be understood as referring to the specific constellation and not to general guidelines of the EPO.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Court pointed out that UPC proceedings should generally progress to the final hearing within one year unless the specifics of the case demand otherwise. 
  • While acknowledging the potential for differing decisions from the UPC and EPO, the Court noted that such outcomes do not inherently conflict, as the latter would prevail. 
  • In line with Articles 41(3), 42, and 52(1) of the UPCA, the UPC Division dealing with the case retains discretionary power to stay proceedings. This power is to be exercised cautiously, with a “rapid” decision from the EPO being a prerequisite. The general acceleration of EPO proceedings does not meet this criterion.