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The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the Unitary Patent

Navigating the new European patent system


After years of debate and preparation, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has now started (1 June 2023). Click on the boxes towards the bottom of this page to find out more about the UPC and unitary patent and see our UPC blog post series here for updates and a strategic approach to the new court system.

The introduction of the European patent package involving the creation of a single court in which to hear European patent disputes (the Unified Patent Court (UPC)) and unitary patent right (UP), across most of the EU, is the culmination of decades of work.

Now the new system is in place, it brings with it fundamental changes to the way in which patents can be litigated and granted in Europe. The new UP right is now available as an option at grant, covering 17 EU member states with one patent that will be enforced exclusively through the UPC's centralised system.  Those not wishing their current European patents (EPs) and those granting over the next 7 years (the transition period) to be subject to the UPC's jurisdiction, can opt their EPs out of the UPC's jurisdiction, but once the transition period is over, all newly granting EPs will be subject to the jurisdiction of the UPC exclusively. 

This UPC & UP hub will help you examine the issues below and assess their impact on your business:

  • How will your existing and future European patents will be impacted by the new system?
  • How can you use the one-stop-shop nature of patent enforcement in the era of the UPC to your benefit?
  • What opportunities and risks does the initial parallel jurisdiction of the UPC and national courts over European patents present?
  • What risks are there for parties brought into the UPC system as defendants and facing pan-European injunctions and damages?
  • What is the picture for unitary patents – a new supra-national patent right for Europe?  
  • What should your business should be doing now to prepare?  

For help and commentary on all these issues, please see our quick guide to the UPC and unitary patents (via the boxes below) and in particular read our series of feature articles published in PLC Magazine here.

How can we help?

Our fully integrated, market leading team, is on the ground in France, Germany, Italy and the UK and has decades of experience in running multi-jurisdictional patent litigation in respect of our clients' most valuable products, including experience in the jurisdictions which will inform the UPC's procedure in due course.

We are able to use legal, technical and strategic skills from across our whole European team to give you the best advice on your UPC or national matters, with the qualifications necessary to handle cases whether they are in the UPC or key national courts. 

The new UPC court system has jurisdiction over EPs in all participating EU member states (currently 17), but litigation will also need to continue in non-participating EPC states (including the UK and the seven EU member states that have not yet ratified the UPC Agreement, three of which have declared an intention not to join at all) and in national courts of participating states in relation to EPs opted out of the UPC's jurisdiction.

So, as well as litigation in the UPC, the execution and management of multi-jurisdictional patent litigation, in which our team has unrivalled experience, will still be a key element of patent enforcement in Europe. 

For more information and advice on the new system, please contact Laura Orlando, or any of the other key contacts listed below. 


The Unified Patent Court (UPC) starts today – 1 June 2023

1 June 2023

Today marks the launch of the new Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent (UP) system in Europe – the culmination of decades of work, bringing with it fundamental changes to the way in which patents can be litigated in Europe.

Find out more about the UPC, the unitary patent, and how our fully integrated European IP team can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that the UPC presents on our UPC & UP Hub and follow our UPC & UP blog post series.


In the media: HSF on the UPC & UP

HSF comments for Managing IP on Milan UPC Central Division confirmation

19 May 2023

On 18 May 2023, the Italian government confirmed that the third Central Division seat of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will be hosted in Milan.

The statement issued by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has said that the new seat will be operational within one year. However, with the UPC launch date approaching on 1 June 2023, Paris and Munich will initially share the caseload until Milan is operational, as confirmed by the UPC Presidium on 16 May 2023 (see our previous blog post).


Key Contacts