It’s Official! The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will open on 1st June 2023.

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On 17th February 2023, Germany ratified the Agreement on the UPC. This sets the wheels in motion for the entry into force of the UPC Agreement, and thus the opening of the UPC, on 1st June 2023.

This also confirms the start date of the Sunrise Period for filing UPC opt-outs. An opt-out filed during the Sunrise Period will be effective from 1st June 2023.

This date marks a massive change in the world of European patents seeing the launch of a new international court for patent litigation and a new Unitary Patent.

Federal Minister of Justice Dr. Marco Buschmann explains:
“As of today, innovation protection in Europe will be raised to a new level. From June 1st, unitary patent protection will open up in Europe, with disputes being decided in proceedings before the Unified Patent Court with immediate effect for all participating member states. In this way, innovative companies can effectively protect their inventions in the common market in a contemporary way across borders. This strengthens future viability and innovative strength in Germany and Europe.”

The UPCA will enter into force after ratification by Germany on June 1, 2023. In future, the Unified Patent Court is to be responsible for all EU member states involved in the infringement and validity of patents under the European Patent Convention and the new EU unitary patent in a uniform procedure. The court will initially decide patent disputes with immediate effect for 17 states (Germany, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia). More EU-Member states can join the unitary patent protection in the future. As part of the preparations, the member states have agreed on a code of civil procedure for the new procedure, in which modern technology is used. The files of the court are managed fully electronically in a case management system; the decisions of the court are also issued in electronic form. The relevant legal acts and further information can be found on the website of the Unified Patent Court .

Chambers of first instance are set up in the participating member states, in Germany at the locations Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim and Munich. The Court of Appeal is based in Luxembourg. The President of the Court of Appeal is Dr. Klaus Grabinski from Germany, the President of the Court of First Instance Mrs Florence Butin from France.

The statement of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Justice can be found here.

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