Inauguration of Unified Patent Court held today in Luxembourg

Today, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) began its life in Luxembourg. The UPC will enter into force on 1 June this year. According to the programme available on the official website of the Grand Duchy (here), both the President of the Court of Appeal of the UPC and the President of the Court of First Instance of the UPC were in attendance amongst many other distinguished attendees. Indeed Sir Robin Jacob sent us the following two pictures: 

Both photos by Sir Robin Jacob

What is the UPC?

The UPC is a further step towards a uniform European patent system. Under the current regime established by the European Patent Convention, a European patent is granted by the central granting agency the European Patent Office. It then needs to be validated in different states to become national patents. Solely the national tribunals are competent to decide infringement.

Under the new UPC regime, the UPC will not only have jurisdiction over the validity of a Unified Patent - it will be possible centrally to revoke a Unified Patent beyond the nine-month opposition period currently available against a European patent - but will also be able to determine infringement issues in the countries that have joined the UPC. 

During the transition period of seven years from 1 June 2023, potentially extendable for another seven, the patentee of a European patent can opt out of the new UPC system and stick to the classic mode of validating nationally a patent granted by European Patent Office and letting national courts to determine validity and infringement.

The number of countries which have joined the UPC is however much lower than those being part of the European Patent Convention. A notable absence is the UK due to Brexit. Other European countries currently not part of the UPC include Spain, Norway, and Poland. This means that for a European patent validated in the UK, the UK courts will still be the only competent authorities to decide on infringement (and validity after the opposition period before the European Patent Office expires). The interaction between the European Patent Office, the Unified Patent Court, and the national tribunals will certainly be an interesting area in European patent law in the years to come.

(Apparently the UPC is not the only topic of today's event. Another hot issue, the Standard Essential Patents also received attention: Managing IP reported that Mr Grabinski urged the EU to rethink its recently proposed regulation on the Standard Essential Patents.)

Inauguration of Unified Patent Court held today in Luxembourg Inauguration of Unified Patent Court held today in Luxembourg Reviewed by Henry P Yang on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 Rating: 5


  1. "Solely the national tribunals are competent to decide infringement." That's since Brussels/Lugano Convention/Brussels I regulation not the case anymore....

    1. Thanks TreatyNotifier. I was wanting to say that before the UPC there's no supranational court that could decide infringement issues. I think the Brussels Regulation / Lugano Convention doesn't change this position?


  2. EPO has a good overview:$File/the_jurisdiction_of_european_courts_in_patent_disputes_en.pdf


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