The UPC is an international court common to the participating member states and has exclusive jurisdiction for unitary patents and for European patents without unitary effect (however, see the option to opt out, as discussed in Section 3 above). A decision by the UPC will have effect in all participating member states where the unitary patent or European patent without unitary effect is in force.
The UPC comprises a Court of First Instance, including several central, regional and local divisions spread over the participating member states, a Court of Appeal located in Luxembourg and a Registry. The central divisions will be located in Paris and Munich – it has not yet been decided where the third central division, originally foreseen to be located in London, will be transferred to.
In rare cases, the European Court of Justice may be called upon to decide on questions of the interpretation of EU law that arise in proceedings before the Unified Patent Court.
Competence and language of proceedings
An infringement action can be brought before a local or a regional division or before the central division, depending on the (principal) place of business of the defendant, the place where the actual or threatened infringement has occurred and whether an action for revocation is already pending. Revocation actions must be brought before the central division if no infringement action is pending; a counterclaim for revocation in an infringement action must be brought before the division where the infringement action is pending. It is expected that local and regional divisions will generally deal with infringement actions and counterclaims for revocation in the same proceedings. However, bifurcation is not prohibited and the counterclaim for revocation may be transferred to the central division. If the parties agree, both infringement and revocation action may be transferred to the central division.
In proceedings before local and regional divisions, the language of the proceedings is any official language of the respective state(s). With approval of the Court, parties can agree to use the language in which the patent was granted. In proceedings before the central division, the language of the proceedings is the language in which the patent was granted.