It’s official: Unified Patent Court will open on 1 June 2023

Final confirmation that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will open its doors on 1 June 2023, was received today with news from Germany’s Ministry of Justice that it has ratified the UPC Agreement.

CIPA President Daniel Chew welcomed the news, saying that UK patent attorneys were looking forward to playing a central role.

German ratification was the final step required to bring the agreement into force. The opening of the court is expected to herald the biggest shake-up of Europe’s patent litigation market in a generation.

Applicants will be able to choose a single – or “unitary” – European patent, rather than the existing “bundle” of patents validated in those individual countries.

Unitary Patents (and existing bundles of national patents, unless opted out) will all be enforced in the Unified Patent Court, forming a streamlined system for the grant and enforcement of patents in Europe.

The new system is expected to be cheaper and simpler, as there are no national validations for Unitary Patents.

The UK is not a signatory to the agreement, but suitably qualified UK-based patent attorneys will have rights of representation before the court and will bring some unique advantages to their clients.

CIPA President Daniel Chew said: “News of Germany’s ratification is very welcome. UK patent attorneys have been looking forward to participating in the new system for a number of years and offer their clients a number of advantages.

“We will have the advantage of language, as most of the local UPC courts will use English – some of them exclusively. Also, central revocation actions will be in the language of the patent, and the majority of European patents are in English.

“UK patent attorneys will also have access to more litigation markets than others, with access to the European Patent Office, the UPC and the UK.”

A three-month Sunrise Period, during which existing European patents can be opted-out of the new unitary system, begins on 1 March.

Watch our video explaining more on YouTube.

Date published: 17 February 2023

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