Timeline for the UPC

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will have exclusive jurisdiction for Unitary Patents (UPs). In addition, the UPC will have jurisdiction for non-unitary European Patents (EPs), unless an opt-out is in place. The timeline below shows how the date of grant and the use of an opt-out affects whether a European patent will be subject to the jurisdiction of national courts of UP states and/or the UPC.

Four main stages of progression for the Unified Patent Court are shown. The first stage is the ratification process of the UPC agreement, which will bring the UP system into effect. Once the minimum number of ratifications are complete1, a date for the UPC agreement entering into effect will be set. There will be an intervening “sunrise period” of at least three months in which European patents and applications can be opted-out of the jurisdiction of the UPC in advance. After the UPC agreement enters into effect, there will be a transitional period during which national courts and the UPC will have joint jurisdiction for European patents, and in which European patents and applications can be opted-out of the jurisdiction of the UPC. 

Following the end of the transitional period, the UPC will have exclusive jurisdiction for EP patents that were not previously opted out.

 UPC Timeline

Click here to download a pdf of the timeline

UPC = Unified Patent Court

EP = European Patent     

UP = Unitary Patent       

EPA = European Patent application

  1.  Ratification - 13 states, including the UK, France and Germany, are required to ratify for the UPC Agreement to come into force.
     

  2. The “sunrise period” is a period during which European patents can be opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC before the UPC agreement enters into effect. The “sunrise period” begins by the day after the 13th state ratifies (provided the 13 states include UK, Germany and France). It is possible that this period could begin slightly earlier.
     

  3. UPC agreement enters into effect on the first day of the fourth month after the 13th state ratifies (provided the 13 states include UK, Germany and France).
     

  4. The transitional period begins when the UPC agreement enters into effect. During the transitional period, any granted European patents that have not been opted out from the jurisdiction of the UPC will be under the joint jurisdiction of the UPC and national courts.
     

  5. Granted European patents and European patent applications may be opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC from the beginning of the "sunrise period" until one month before the end of the transitional period. There is also a possibility of withdrawing the opt out request.
     

  6. It will be possible to request a Unitary Patent (UP) (a European patent with unitary effect) when the UPC agreement enters into effect. The deadline for requesting a UP is one month after grant of the European patent.
     

  7. European patents granted before the UPC agreement enters into effect may be opted out from the jurisdiction of the UPC. It will be possible to opt out a European patent from the jurisdiction of the UPC during the “sunrise period” before the UPC agreement enters into effect. European patents that are not opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC will be under the jurisdiction of national courts and the UPC during the transitional period.
     

  8. European Patents granted after the UPC agreement enters into effect may be validated as UPs (European patents with unitary effect). If no request for unitary effect is filed and the European Patent is not opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC, the European patent will be under the jurisdiction of both national courts and the UPC during the transitional period.
     

  9. European patent applications that are opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC by the deadline of one month before the end of the transitional period will be under the jurisdiction of national courts once granted.
     

  10. European patents granted after the end of the transitional period in UP participating states will be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC (provided that the European patent application was not opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC during the transitional period).

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