The UPC decides on both
UPs and (non-opted out) EPs.

Unified Patent Court (UPC)

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) – structure, staffing and instances

The UPC is a new court, with its own rules of procedure, which include elements of both the continental European and the Anglo-Saxon legal traditions. It has jurisdiction for litigation concerning Unitary Patents, and also for existing and newly granted European Patents. 

The proprietor of a European Patent can rule out the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC for a transitional period of seven years by means of an opt-out declaration”.

The decisions of the UPC are handed down with effect for all the participating (Unitary Patent) and designated (European Patent) EU member states. At the UPC, the same tribunal can decide both on the infringement and on the validity of a patent. Depending on the individual case, infringement and validity may, however, also be decided in separate cases (known as bifurcation). 

The trial files are available online. Details about the parties and their representatives are freely accessible to the public. The UPC will decide, on application, whether individual documents should be treated as confidential.

The UPC comprises a Court of First Instance and a Court of Appeal.

The nationalities of the judges of all the divisions are mixed. This means that the German local divisions each consist of two German and one foreign judge. Upon request by the parties or if an invalidity suit is to be heard, the divisions may be supplemented by a technically qualified judge.

  • The Court of First Instance consists of a central division with its seat in Paris, Munich and soon in Milan, and local divisions in the member states as well as a regional division for the nordic-baltic states. 
  • In Germany, there are four local divisions, which are situated at the locations in Düsseldorf, Mannheim, Munich and Hamburg, which are already well-known internationally for patent litigation; Germany is thus – as befits its well-established outstanding role in patent law – the country with by far the greatest capacity for UPC cases.
  • Proceedings before the German local divisions can be conducted, at the choice of the claimant, in German or English language or – with the consent of the court – in the language of the patent in suit.
  • The Court of Appeal has its seat in Luxembourg. 
  • It is provided that the UPC may request the Court of Justice of the European Union, CJEU, to give a ruling on the interpretation of EU law.


With offices in Düsseldorf and Mannheim, rospatt is located not only geographically at the heart of the new European patent system. Our powerful and experienced team is also well-equipped, in terms of both technical expertise and staff, to represent your company in legal disputes before the UPC.