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The Unified Patent Court

The Unified Patent Court

The new court will handle all disputes relating to infringement and validity of the new Unitary Patents and similar disputes relating to European patents that have not been opted-out of the system.

The UPC in Practice

The UPC will have a Court of First Instance and a Court of Appeal and its rulings will have effect in all participating states. This means that injunctions won at the UPC can be enforced across all participating states. Similarly, a successful revocation action will lead to a loss of patent protection in multiple countries. You can read more about how you can prepare for the new system here.

Central divisions

The Court of First Instance will have central divisions in Paris and Munich. The work originally intended for the central division in London will be reallocated. The cases will be distributed over the different divisions according to technical field, as follows:

  • Paris: cases involving physics, electronics, computer sciences, paper and textiles (IPC classes B, D, E, G and H).
  • London (to be reallocated): cases involving chemistry, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy and human necessities (IPC sections A and C).
  • Munich: cases involving mechanical engineering (IPC section F).

It is not yet clear whether the central division in London will be relocated to another EU country or whether Paris and Munich will continue alone.

Local and regional divisions

However, most litigation cases will have to be filed at a local or regional division. These local and regional divisions will be set up in those countries that have decided to do so. The Netherlands will have a local division in The Hague, and Belgium will have a local division in Brussels.

Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal will have its seat in Luxembourg. Finally, questions relating to the interpretation of the new legal system may be referred to the European Court of Justice.

Authorised representation

Parties may be represented before the UPC by authorised lawyers or by European Patent Attorneys with an appropriate litigation certificate. Patent attorneys who do not have such a litigation certificate will also have a right of audience. For patent proprietors, the advantage will be that they may work with the same attorney both before the EPO and the UPC.

Many practical arrangements for the court, such as governance, budgetary arrangements, and training arrangements for judges, are in the final stages of preparation by the preparatory committee.