In the context of actions for infringement before the Unified Patent Court (UPC), forum shopping means the possibility for a plaintiff to choose a particular division out of several competent divisions for his action.
Reasons for forum shopping
Reasons for choosing one division over another are based on the wiggle room and discretion that the rules on procedure and material laws governing the UPC provide the judges with, which can result in (statistically significant) differences between the divisions in how they decide on various issues and how they conduct the proceedings. Examples would be: win/loss ratio; how often court experts are appointed; how often counterclaims for revocation are referred to the central chamber and a corresponding infringement action is stayed; how often infringement actions are stayed in light of pending opposition proceedings before the EPO; how often local chambers request technically qualified judges in infringement actions; chances for success of applications for provisional measures.
Forum shopping at UPC
The rules governing the UPC allow forum shopping to a certain extent. Actions for infringement can be brought before a local and regional division of a contracting member state if infringement takes place in said state (e.g. sale of goods). Further, actions for infringement can be brought before a local and regional division of a contracting member state if defendant has its seat in said state. In case the defendant does not have its seat on the territory of any contracting member state, the action can also be brought before the central division. In case a contracting member state has several local divisions (for now only Germany, with four divisions), an action can be brought before any of these divisions (in case infringement takes place on the territory of that state).
For example: a defendant has its seat in Austria, infringement takes place in Germany, Italy and France. The action for infringement can then be brought be before the one of the local divisions in Vienna, Munich, Dusseldorf, Mannheim, Hamburg, Milan and Paris.
Since the divisions of the UPC, in principle, render decisions for the territories of all contracting member states (see the corresponding article), plaintiffs can take advantage of the peculiarities of the divisions in cases where several divisions are competent (as in the above example).