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Activity at the Unified Patent Court over the first 12 months of operation

Activity at the Unified Patent Court over the first 12 months of operation

European News UPC 18/06/2024

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) started work in June 2023.  The UPC has exclusive jurisdiction for infringement and validity of Unitary Patents, and also has jurisdiction for conventional validated European patents that are not opted-out.

The workload of the UPC over the initial 12 months indicates a positive uptake from patent owners and businesses across Europe.  So far, the first instance divisions of the UPC have received 373 patent cases. Most of these cases related to patent infringement actions and associated counterclaims for invalidity triggered by the initial patent infringement assertion.  134 patent infringement actions have been filed by patent owners with 165 counterclaims filed in defence.

There are several local/regional divisions of the UPC located in various countries across Europe which deal with patent infringement.  The local divisions in Germany - in Munich, Düsseldorf, Mannheim, and Hamburg - have so far handled the vast majority of new patent infringement actions.  There has also been significant activity in the local divisions in Paris, Milan, the Hague, and in the Nordic Baltic regional division, with a small sprinkling of cases in Brussels, Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Vienna also.

The central divisions of the UPC deal with revocation actions. There are currently two central divisions in Paris and Munich, with a third central division in Milan due to commence operations shortly.  Over the first 12 months, 39 revocation actions have been received at the UPC central divisions.  Of interest is that the number of standalone revocation actions is significantly less than the number of patent infringement actions.  Prior to the establishment of the UPC, a concern of patent owners was that the UPC would open up the possibility of central revocation of a European patent after the 9 month EPO opposition period has expired.  The balance of the caseload for the first year has been more of patent owners using the UPC to enforce patent rights, with fewer instances of competitors looking to invalidate a European patent in a standalone revocation action.

The local/regional divisions of the UPC operate using a local language or English, and the central divisions of the UPC operate in whichever language was used during proceedings before the EPO.  Almost all cases before the UPC are being conducted in either English or German, with English for 50% of cases and German for 44% of cases.

The areas of technology of the patents being litigated before the UPC are spread across many of the IPC classes.  Standout areas of high work-load include electronics and semiconductors, and also medical technology and pharmaceuticals.


For more details on the UPC, please visit our dedicated UPC section here. Unified Patent Court (UPC) Information (