The specialization of commercial courts in patent matters, finally a reality in Madrid and Valencia (in addition to Catalonia)


In paragraph VIII of its Explanatory Memorandum, the New Patents Act 24/2015, of 24 July (NPA) explains that one of its objectives is "to combine the closeness and decentralization of the Justice with a better specialization in patent matters, strengthening this by way of a concentration of cases, so that the objective jurisdiction corresponds to the commercial court (of the city hosting the High Court of Justice) that has been designated by the General Council of the Judiciary to know with exclusivity about patent matters, the territorial jurisdiction criteria remaining the same".

The need of concentrating patent matters in certain specialized courts to which the NPA refers) is something that the concerned sectors have been defending along the last years in view of the complexity of this type of cases. This, however and until very recently, had become a reality in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia only.

Indeed, by way of the Agreement of 23 of November 2011, published in the Official Gazette of 22 of December 2011, Courts numbers 1, 4 and 5 in Barcelona were designated by the General Council of the Judiciary to know –as long as territorially competent- about patent claims. The Agreement was adopted in view of the specialization Proposal that had been unanimously approved by the Sectorial Board of Commercial Courts of Barcelona in order to improve the expertise and knowledge of the judges in patent matters and to provide a higher degree of legal certainty and more effective and faster response by the Courts when deciding about this type of cases.

Three years after that, the 18 of March 2015, the Sectorial Board of Commercial Courts of Madrid drafted a Proposal having the same purpose too. Commercial Courts numbers 7, 8, 9 and 10 were designated to know about patent claims. This Proposal, however, had not been put into effect yet so that any of the 12 Commercial Courts existing in Madrid could know about a patent claim filed there.

Now, after the publication in the Official Gazette of 30 of December of 2016 of the Agreement of 21 of December 2017 of the Permanent Commission of the General Council of the Judiciary, the specialization in patent matters has finally become true in Madrid and in the Autonomous Community of Valencia. From now on, Commercial Courts numbers 7, 8, 9 and 10 will be the ones knowing about patent claims filed in Madrid. As per the Autonomous Community of Valencia, the competent court to know about these claims will be Commercial Court number 2.

The concentration and specialization mentioned by the NPA has therefore become a reality in three of the Spanish Autonomous Communities. This will not only benefit those who have to litigate in connection with a patent, but will also benefit those who appear and perform in Court and, in the end, the Spanish patents system which, undoubtedly, will benefit from having judgements drafted by specialized courts.