1 June 2023 UPC will start

On 17 February 2023, Germany deposited its instrument of ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) with the Council of the European Union (EU). The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will therefore start on 01 June 2023.

The UPC will eventually carry the sole responsible for infringement & validity of European patents (EPs) and European patents with unitary effect (unitary patents, UPs) for all participating European Union member states.

At present, participating states are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.

During a transitional period, infringement & validity proceedings may still also be brought before the national courts in the participating EU member states, and European patents as well as European patent applications and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) may be opted-out from the jurisdiction of the UPC. Unitary patents cannot be opted-out.

In order to avoid surprise attacks, European patent applications, European patents and SPCs may be opted-out at the UPC by, or on behalf of, the applicants, proprietors and holders, respectively, during the UPC Sunrise Period, ending 31 May 2023.

However, as the unitary patent system and Unified Patent Court are the biggest change in the European patent landscape in more than 40 years, it is advisable to seek professional advice, for example, from European Patent