What is the Unified Patent Court?

The UPC is a new international court common to its Member States. It will provide simplified, quicker and more efficient judicial procedures with high-quality decisions issued by panels comprising both legally and technically qualified judges sitting in an international composition. In addition, the UPC Agreement harmonises the substantive patent law governing the scope and limitation of the rights conferred by a patent and the remedies available in cases of infringement.

The UPC has been established by an international treaty: the UPC Agreement of 19 February 2013. It will have exclusive competence for the settlement of disputes in respect of both “classic” European patents and Unitary Patents. This exclusive competence is however subject to exceptions with regard to European patents: cases may still be brought before national courts, and proprietors of European patents may opt out from the UPC's exclusive competence during a transitional period of seven years, which may be prolonged by up to a further seven years. The opt-out will be effective for the entire life of the European patent concerned. The UPC's rulings will have effect throughout the territories of those Member States that have already ratified the UPC Agreement (the contracting Member States) at the time they are issued. The UPC will not have any jurisdiction over  national patents.