​​Travaux préparatoires concerning the origins of the Unitary Patent and UPC published

​​The online collection of travaux préparatoires to the UP Regulations and the UPC Agreement – comprising over 250 documents – will enhance transparency and provide valuable insights into legislators’ discussions over the years, helping to inform legal interpretation today.​ 

The European Patent Office has today published a collection of over 250 preparatory documents relating to the Unitary Patent system. As the new system celebrates its first anniversary this week, the extensive documentation of the negotiations that shaped the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) has been made available to the public.  

The focus of the collection is on the core negotiation phase from 2007 to 2013, during which successive Council Presidencies carried forward the work on the patent reform with relentless momentum and energy. This crucial period started in autumn 2007, with the first concept papers on an “Enhanced Patent Litigation System and a Community Patent” presented by the Portuguese Presidency to the Council’s Working Party on Intellectual Property, chaired at the time by António Campinos, and concluded with the signing of the UPC Agreement under the Irish Council Presidency on 19 February 2013. 

From solid legal foundations to successful implementation 

Further historical insights are provided by the sections giving access to the “Community Patent Convention” of 1975 and 1989, as well as the draft “European Patent Litigation Protocol” of 2001 and 2004. Although these texts never entered into force, they remain relevant to tracing the origins of many of the provisions eventually included in the EU Regulations on the Unitary Patent and in the UPC Agreement.  

Also included are the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union confirming the solid legal foundations of the project, first in its 2013 judgment upholding the Council's decision to authorise enhanced co-operation among the 25 Member States in the Unitary Patent area, then in the 2015 judgments rejecting the actions against the EU Regulations on the Unitary Patent. 

To round off the collection, the most important documents adopted by the Select Committee chaired by Jérôme Debrulle have been included. Set up under Article 145 EPC, this Committee prepared the framework for the implementation of the Unitary Patent at the EPO, with the support of the EPO and its then President Benoît Battistelli. 

Documents of the UPC Preparatory Committee, chaired during its crucial years by Alexander Ramsay, are not included in the collection, as they will be made available by the UPC. 

Easy online access 

It is hoped that easy online access to this extensive documentation will be of interest not only to students and researchers wishing to retrace the long history leading to today’s successful Unitary Patent system, but also to practitioners and all those seeking to ascertain the origin of particular provisions. 

The enduring legacy of numerous stakeholders 

These travaux préparatoires to the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are also a tribute to the work of Margot Fröhlinger, formerly Director in the Commission’s Directorate General for the Internal Market and latterly Principal Director at the EPO. In 2007, she revived the dream of the old Community Patent Regulation (from 2000-2004) and with unwavering commitment accompanied the project throughout.  

This enterprise is the enduring legacy of numerous stakeholders who have supported and contributed to the work leading towards the successful start of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, including Europe’s patent judges, lawyers and professional representatives; user associations; civil servants in the European institutions, the EPO and the Member States; as well as policy makers at the European and national level.