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Legal background

The new European unitary patent and Unified Patent Court regime is established by three pieces of legislation comprising two EU Regulations – the unitary patent and translational regulations – and the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court:

  • Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPCA or UPC Agreement) – The international treaty between 24 of the 27 Member States of the European Union setting up the Unified Patent Court. The Agreement is accompanied by the Rules of Procedure (current status: 18th Draft version of 15 March 2017), the procedural law provisions under which the UPC will operate.
  • Regulation creating the Unitary Patent – The EU Regulation which sets up the unitary patent (Reg. 1257/2012/EU).
  • Translational Regulation – The EU Regulation that sets up the translational arrangements for the unitary patent (Reg. 1260/2012/EU).

The Regulations were passed in December 2012. However, according to its Art. 89 the UPC Agreement will not enter into force before months have passed after the:

(1)deposition of the 13th instrument of ratification, including the three Member States in which the highest number of European patents had effect in the year preceding the year in which the signature of the UPC Agreement takes place (Germany, France and Italy); and

(2) the entry into force of the amendments to the Regulation 1215/2012/EU (Brussels I Regulation (recast)) concerning its relationship with the UPC Agreement.

The Preparatory Committee of the UPC expects that this could be accomplished in the middle of the year 2022.

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The European Unified Patent System