UPC-Agreement : the Unitary Patent & the Unified Patent Court

According to the European Patent Office [link], the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are the building blocks that will supplement and strengthen the existing centralised European patent granting system.

They are meant to offer users of the patent system a cost-effective option for patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe. The new system starts on 1 June 2023.

Intellectual property law Simont Braun Belgian business law firm

General Overview

The introduction of the European patent with unitary effect is accompanied by the creation of a unified court with exclusive competences to hear certain actions relating to this new type of patent and some other similar titles. For more information, follow this link

The transitional period and the Opt-Out

During a transitional period of (at least) seven years from the date of entry into force of the UPC agreement, an action for infringement or revocation of a European patent without unitary effect (or an SPC based on such patent) may still be brought, at the option of the claimant before the UPC or a national court.

The patent owner will be able to avoid the jurisdiction of the UPC, and in particular the possible invalidation of his patent for all UPC States by a single court decision, thanks to an “opt-out” to be filed as soon as possible. The benefit of the “opt-out” applies to the patent in question (and, if applicable, to the SPC based thereon) for its entire term of validity.

To find out more about how the “opt-out” mechanism works, its benefits and risks, and how to activate it, follow this link

What competences for the Unified Patent Court?

The forthcoming entry into force of the agreement establishing the Unified Patent Court (“UPC”) provides an opportunity to briefly examine :

  • the main rules concerning the material competences of the UPC, e. the subject matter and nature of actions before this court. To find out more, follow this link
  • the main rules that will determine the “internal” competences between the EU Member States parties to this agreement (“UPC States”). For more information, follow this link
  • the main rules that will determine its “international” jurisdiction, e. in relation to EU Member States that have not ratified the UPC Agreement, and “third” (non-EU) States. For more information, follow this link


Emmanuel Cornu
Eric De Gryse
De Gryse
Fernand de Visscher
de Visscher
Michaël De Vroey
De Vroey
Arnaud Bouten
Ségolène Nève
Noah Verbaenen