Rule 19 – Preliminary objectionPrint this page
1. Within one month of service of the Statement of claim, the defendant may lodge a Preliminary objection concerning:
(a) the jurisdiction and competence of the Court, including any objection that an opt-out pursuant to Rule 5 applies to the patent that is the subject of the proceedings;
(b) the competence of the division indicated by the claimant [Rule 13.1(i)];
(c) the language of the Statement of claim [Rule 14].
2. A Preliminary objection shall contain:
(a) particulars in accordance with Rule 24(a) to (c);
(b) the decision or order sought by the defendant;
(c) the grounds upon which the Preliminary objection is based; and
(d) where appropriate the facts and evidence relied on.
3. The Preliminary objection shall be drawn up in the language pursuant to Rule 14.
4. If the action has been commenced before a regional division the defendant may by a Preliminary objection request a transfer of the action to the central division pursuant to Article 33(2) of the Agreement. The Preliminary objection shall in such a case contain all facts and evidence supporting the existence of the same infringement in the territories of three or more regional divisions.
5. The Registry shall as soon as practicable invite the claimant to comment on the Preliminary objection. Where applicable, the claimant may of his own motion correct any deficiency [paragraph 1(b) or (c)], within 14 days of service of notification of the Preliminary objection. Alternatively the claimant may submit written comments within the same period. The judge-rapporteur shall be informed of any correction made or written comments submitted by the claimant. If the deficiency referred to in paragraph 1(b) is corrected and the claimant has indicated another division, which is competent, the judge-rapporteur shall refer the action to the division indicated by the claimant.
6. The period for lodging the Statement of defence [Rule 23] shall not be affected by the lodging of a Preliminary objection, unless the judge-rapporteur decides otherwise.
7. The defendant’s failure to lodge a Preliminary objection within the time period referred to in paragraph 1 shall be treated as a submission to the jurisdiction and competence of the Court and the competence of the division chosen by the claimant.
Extension and alignment of deadline for lodging Preliminary Objection because of procedural advantage and representative for defendants helping to make a prompt and successful service of the Statement of Claim possible though risking a shortening of the relevant deadlines. Extension in alignment with UPC system (two months before Statement of Defence).
Objections based on articles 29 and 30 Brussels Ibis Regulation may be the subject of a Preliminary objection under Rule 48 in connection with 19.1(a) RoP. Preliminary objection is to be dealt with in the main proceedings for reasons of procedural economy and efficiency (Rule 20.2 RoP).
Valid date of service of statement of claim with Annexes (Rule 271 RoP). A Statement of claim, even if it refers to or announces the later submission of Annexes, can be validly served on a defendant, provided that the Statement of claim without the Annexes enables the defendant to assert its rights in legal proceedings before the courts of the UPC. A Statement of claim must therefore at least state with certainty the subject matter and cause of action. Only annexes that are indispensable for the understanding of the subject matter and the cause of action must be served (and where necessary translated) on a defendant, together with the Statement of claim. Extension of terms for Preliminary objections and Statement of defense because of unavailability of Annexes (Rules 13, 19 and 23 RoP). If a claimant did not upload the Annexes simultaneously with the Statement of claim in the CMS, and thus did not comply with Rule 13.2, and as a consequence these have not been available when the representative of the defendant accessed the CMS with the Access Code contained in the Notice, this in itself is sufficient to constitute a reasoned request by a defendant for an extension of the terms mentioned in Rules 19.1 and 23 RoP for lodging a Preliminary objection and the Statement of defense, regardless of the nature and/or content of the Annexes. Failing any specific circumstances of an individual case which calls for another term, which have to be brought forward by the claimant, the extension of the terms mentioned in Rules 19.1 and 23 shall compensate for and thus be equal to the period during which the Annexes have not been available after service of the Statement of claim contrary to Rule 13.2 RoP.
The possible subjects of a Preliminary objection are exhaustively listed in Rule 19(1) RoP. Motions pursuant to Rule 158(1) RoP are not listed. The same applies to referring certain issues to the Court of Justice of the EU or of suspending te proceedings due to pending parallel proceedings. The objections will be dealt with by the Division in the main proceedings.
Preliminary objection against competence of Central Division in revocation action rejected because revocation action was already brought before the Central Division (article 33(4) UPCA). Statement of Revocation in revocation action was lodged in hard-copy on 1 June 2023 at 11.26, prior to the Statement of Claim in the infringement action at 11.45.
The prevention of a divergence of the deadlines for lodging a preliminary objection (Rule 19) is not necessary per se. On the one hand, an extension of the opposition period is not necessarily accompanied by an extension of the time limit for filing a statement of defence. This is because, as Rule 19.6 shows, the running of the time limit for filing a statement of opposition is not even affected by the filing of the statement of opposition, unless the reporter decides otherwise. Secondly, the opposition alone concerns the issues of the jurisdiction of the court, the use of the exception under Rule 5 of the Rules of Procedure, the jurisdiction of the Chamber and the language of the proceedings. These issues per se can be answered quickly and also differently for different defendants. Furthermore, a legal interest of the other party to have certainty on these issues, also in relation to individual defendants, as soon as possible must also be recognised. However, it should be noted that working with the new procedural law and case management system (CMS) poses significant challenges to all parties involved. Therefore, a practicable handling of the challenges that arise is required in the initial period. The Rapporteur therefore exercises the discretion granted by the Rules of Procedure to grant the application by way of exception.