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Unified Patent Court to start in 2023


The latest news from the Unified Patent Court suggests that the Court – and with it the new Unitary Patent – is likely to start in early 2023.

Following the ratification of the UPC Agreement by Austria in January, preparations have been underway for the establishment of the Court. The preparatory period was due to last at least 8 months, and so the Court could have been established as early as September 2022. However, following a meeting of the Administrative Committee on 8 July, the latest indication is that operations of the Court can reasonably be expected to occur in early 2023.

Other information coming out of the meeting was that local divisions of the Court of First Instance have been confirmed in Austria (Vienna), Belgium (Brussels), Demark (Copenhagen), Finland (Helsinki), France (Paris), Germany (Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim, Munich), Italy (Milan), the Netherlands (The Hague), Slovenia (Ljubljana) and Portugal (Lisbon). There will also be a regional court in Stockholm in Sweden covering the Nordic-Baltic area.

The latest draft Rules of Procedure date from 2015. However, new Rules of Procedure were agreed at the meeting on 8 July, and these will come into force on 1 September 2022. These Rules are not yet published, but will be available in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see whether these final Rules offer any clarity on the opt out requirements, and in particular help clarify how parties and their representatives can opt out of the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC for their existing national validations of European Patents in the sunrise period, which looks likely to start later in 2022 before the start of the UPC in early 2023. The sunrise period will start after Germany deposit their ratification of the UPC Agreement and will run until the start of the Court, and during this period it will also be possible for applicants of European patent applications to delay grant of their applications to be able to take advantage of the new Unitary Patent.

UPC website:

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

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