The unified patent court and the opt-out mechanism


European and Italian Patent and Trademark Attorney

Italian Trademark Attorney and
IP documentation specialist



The Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) (1) is a set of rules concerning the creation of an European Unified Patent Court (UPC). It was signed on February 19, 2003 by 25 States (Contracting Member States) among the 28 members of the European Union (2).

So, representatives from these states became part of the Preparatory Committee, that has the function of supervising the works for the establishment of the UPC, from the legal framework to the practical aspects like facilities and IT tools. 

The 25 Member States who signed the Agreement on 19 February 2013 and who make up the membership of the Preparatory Committee are listed in Figure 1.

The UPC will become an integral part of the judicial system of the Contracting Member States, with exclusive responsibility for European patents and European patents having unitary effect, but not for national patents. Its decisions will take effect in the Contracting Member States of the UPCA. Exceptions to the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC are foreseen during a transitional period.

As a matter of fact, during a transitional period some options will be possible regarding European patents without unitary eff ...