Further Information on Unified Patent Court

07. June 2023 | UPC

Jurisdictions of the UPC

The UPC has exclusive jurisdiction over all Unitary Patents.

However, for all national validations of European patents which have not opted out of the UPC, the UPC shares jurisdictions with the courts of the participating member countries. Consequently, any enforcement action may, in this case, be brought either before the UPC or before competent national courts.

It also follows that national courts will have exclusive jurisdiction over national validations of European patents which have been opted out of the UPC.

As UK has left the EU, UK may neither be covered by a Unitary Patent nor do UK courts participate in the UPC system. Likewise Spain, Poland and Croatia, while belonging to the EU, have decided not to participate in the system.

Structure of UPC

The UPC includes:

  • a Court of First Instance, and
  • a Court of Appeal.

The Court of First Instance is divided into a central division and local/regional divisions spread across the UPC member countries and handled by the respective competent national courts. In Germany, the local divisions are assigned to venues of the well-known and experienced German District Courts of Düsseldorf, Mannheim, Munich and Hamburg.

The Court of Appeal is located in Luxembourg.

The Central Division is currently seated in Paris and Munich. A third seat of the central division will be seated in Milan from June 2024.

The Munich seat deals with patents relating to mechanical engineering. The Paris seat will deal with patents in all other fields, including electronics, software and physics. The proposed third seat will deal with patents relating to chemistry, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and also human necessities, including medical devices.

Language at the UPC

Local and Regional Divisions shall hear cases in one of the official languages of the host EU member country. There is also a possibility that the parties and court may agree to hear the case in the language in which the patent was granted (either English, German or French). Alternatively, one of the official language of the EPO could also be used. As the majority of the EP patents are granted in English, it is likely that the proceedings before the Local/Regional divisions could be in English even if English is not the official language of the Local/Regional Division.

The Central Division shall hear cases in the language of the granted patent.

The Court of Appeal will generally use the same language as used in the Court of First Instance, or the parties may agree to use the language in which the patent was granted.

Consequently, as about 75% of European patents are granted in English, it seems likely that the majority of cases before the Local, Regional and Central Divisions of the UPC could be heard in English.


Any lawyer authorized to practice before a court of a participating member country and any national/European Patent Attorney with suitable qualifications may represent a party before the UPC. As nearly 80% of patent enforcement actions are held in Germany, our team of vastly experienced attorneys-at-law and patent attorneys are well-placed to represent you before the UPC.