EU Institutes Unified Patent Court

The European flag laid flat next to a gavel

June 23, 2023

The Unified Patent Court offers a uniform, specialized, and efficient framework for patent litigation across the European Union

On June 1, 2023, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) of the European Union became a reality. It has been established to support infringement and validity claims of both Unitary Patents and classic European Patents. The court comprises judges from all participating Member States of the EU.

The purpose of the UPC

The UPC offers a uniform, specialized, and efficient framework for patent litigation across the EU. It is codified in the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and will hear both infringement and revocation actions.

In a statement issued June 1, Klaus Grabinski, president of the Court of Appeal, said, "The Unified Patent Court, that opens its digital doors as of today, will be the first court in civil and commercial matters shared by a multitude of EU Member States before which companies, non-commercial organizations and individuals can litigate. More specifically, the Court will make it possible to enforce a European patent across borders before only one court in only one infringement proceeding."

The structure of the UPC

The UPC structure includes a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal, and a Registry. In addition to judges from all over Europe, its panels include both legally and technically qualified judges with specialty expertise in patent litigation.

The Court of First Instance has a decentralized structure, with a central division in Paris, a section in Munich, and various local and regional divisions throughout Europe. The Court of Appeal is seated in Luxembourg and will decide on appeals against decisions of the Court of First Instance and requests for rehearing of final decisions of the Court. In addition, a Patent Mediation and Arbitration Centre is foreseen to foster amicable settlements.

The reduction in the number of European venues and associated potential for reduced cost is expected to make the EU a more attractive venue for pursuing patent litigation.

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