Unified Patent Court
A single patent court for Member States of the European Union
The UPC has exclusive jurisdiction on (classical) European patents, European patents with unitary effect (Unitary patents), SPCs issued for a product covered by such a patent and European patent applications as specified in Article 32 of the UPC Agreement. The UPC has, inter alia, jurisdiction on actions for actual or threatened infringements and related defenses, actions for declaration of non-infringement, actions for provisional and protective measures and injunctions, actions for revocation and counterclaims for revocation. The UPC also has exclusive jurisdiction in respect of actions concerning decisions of the European Patent Office in carrying out the tasks set out in Regulation (EU) 1257/2012 on Unitary Patent Protection. National courts will remain competent for actions which do not come within the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC.
During the transitional period of seven years after the date of entry into force of the UPC Agreement actions relating to (classical) European patents (not European Patents with unitary effect) may alternatively be brought before national courts or other competent national authorities as provided for in Art. 83(1) of the UPC Agreement. The transitional period may be prolonged by decision of the Administrative Committee.
Article 33 of the UPC Agreement determines the competence of the divisions of the UPC's Court of First Instance. The main outlines are as follows:
•Actions for or relating to infringement, provisional and protective measures and injunctions, damages or compensation derived from provisional protection and/or prior use shall be brought before the:
o local/regional division where the infringement has occurred; or where the defendant has residence or place of business,
o If the defendant has no residence or place of business within the Contracting Member States: the local/regional division where the infringement has occurred or the central division.
o If the concerned Contracting Member State has no local/regional division: the central division.
•Actions for revocation or non-infringement shall be brought before the central division unless an action for infringement between the same parties referring to the same patent has been filed with a local or regional division. Then these actions may only be brought before the same local/regional division.
•If a counterclaim for revocation is filed in infringement proceedings the local/regional division may:
o proceed with both actions;
o refer the counterclaim for revocation to the central division (Bifurcation); or
o with the agreement of the parties, refer the whole case to the central division.
o Parties may agree to bring actions before the division of their choice, including the central division.
•Actions concerning decisions of the EPO in carrying out the tasks referred to in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) 1257/2012 (link is external) on Unitary Patent Protection shall always be brought before the central division.
The UPC is a court common to the Contracting Member States. It must respect and apply Union law and together with the Court of Justice of the European Union ensure its correct application and uniform interpretation. The UPC in particular has the same obligation as any national court to request preliminary rulings in accordance with Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Oppositions at the EPO will still be possible. A party shall inform the UPC of any opposition, limitation or revocation proceedings pending before the EPO. The UPC may stay proceedings when a rapid decision may be expected from the EPO, Article 33(10) of the UPC Agreement. The Court may of its own motion – or at the request of a party – request that opposition proceedings before the European Patent Office be accelerated in accordance with the proceedings of the European Patent Office, Rule 298 of the Rules of Procedure of the UPC.