Open mobile menu
Unified Patent Court

Important information about the UPC

Contact Us

On June 1, 2023, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the "Unitary Patent" (UP), also known as the "European patent with unitary effect," became operational. This represents a significant development in the European patent landscape, affecting both patent holders and those defending against patent infringement claims.

What is the Unified Patent Court?

The Unified Patent Court (UPC), established on June 1, 2023, marks a significant development in the European patent landscape. This international court specifically addresses patent infringement and validity disputes related to both classical validated European patents and the new type called "Unitary Patents" (UPs).

The UPC aims to streamline the process of resolving patent litigation across participating EU member states, offering several potential benefits. Primarily, it eliminates the need for separate lawsuits in different countries, saving time and resources. Additionally, its centralized procedures and multilingual capabilities can lead to reduced costs compared to national courts. Another advantage lies in promoting consistent interpretation and application of patent law within the EU member states, fostering legal certainty and predictability.

Currently, the UPC is operational in 17 EU member states, including major economies like Germany, France and Italy. However, it's important to note that some key EU countries, such as Spain and Poland, are not yet participating. Additionally, some participating EU countries haven't finalized their ratification process so the UP and the UPC are not effective in these countries yet.

It's crucial to remember that this information is intended for general understanding only and doesn't constitute legal advice. For detailed information on the UPC's applicability to your specific situation, including its procedures, fees, and relevant legal considerations, consulting with a Secerna patent attorney is highly recommended.

What is a Unitary Patent?

A Unitary Patent (UP) offers patent protection across multiple EU countries with a single granted patent. This simplifies the process, reduces costs, and streamlines enforcement compared to classical validated European patents. A UP is currently effective in 17 EU member states. UPs promote legal certainty but are not yet available in non-EU countries or all participating EU states. Consult a Secerna patent attorney to assess their suitability for your specific needs.

How do the EPC and UPC interact?

While both the EPC (European Patent Convention) and the UPC (Unified Patent Court) deal with European patents, they serve distinct purposes. The EPC establishes a centralized system for examining and granting patents via the European Patent Office across 39 member states, with subsequent national validation required to obtain protection in each country of interest. However, the EPC doesn't address legal disputes. On the other hand, the UPC acts as an international court specializing in patent disputes, tackling infringement and validity cases for both classical validated European patents and the new Unitary Patents (UPs) in participating EU countries.

It plays a complementary role, offering a single court for disputes across participating countries, streamlining the process compared to separate national lawsuits. Remember, the EPC applies to all 39 member states, while the UPC has limited reach - currently 17 EU countries. Importantly, not all European patents automatically become UPs; applicants need to actively choose for unitary effect.

How do I get a Unitary Patent?

Securing a Unitary Patent (UP) comes with specific requirements. Firstly, the granted European patent must have identical claims for every participating EU country. Additionally, all member states involved in the enhanced cooperation for UP protection must be designated in the application. Timeliness is crucial, as both the request for unitary effect and a translated version of the patent must be submitted within a strict, non-extendable one-month window after the European patent grant.

If the European Patent Office (EPO) rejects your UP request, an appeal can be filed with the Unified Patent Court (UPC). Remember, meeting these prerequisites is essential for obtaining a UP and its associated benefits.

Are there language requirements for requesting a UP?

Applicants must provide a full translation in English of the patent, if prosecuted in German or French. If prosecuted in English, then applicants must provide a full translation in the official language of any EU Member State. If issuing legal proceedings, Defendants can ask for full translation in the Defendant's language.

Can I opt-out of the UPC?

Yes, you can opt-out of the UPC for your European patents, published patent applications, and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) during a transitional period of 7 years. This means the UPC will not have jurisdiction over enforcing those classical validated European patents. Please get in touch with us at Secerna for further information.

What support can I get navigating through the UP & UPC Systems?

Secerna can support you every step of the way, providing strategic advice on prosecution, litigation and licensing on all aspects of the UPC and UP.


Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.