The Unitary Patent Court (UPC) will enter into force on 1 June 2023.  From this date it will be possible to bring legal actions before the UPC for rights that have not been opted-out of the jurisdiction of the UPC.  It will also be possible to obtain a Unitary Patent (UP) for European patent applications with a mention of grant date falling on or after 1 June 2023.

To ease the transition, the law on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) provides a “Sunrise Period” to allow patent proprietors and practitioners to prepare for its introduction.  The Sunrise Period will last three months and will start on 1 March 2023.

From the start of the Sunrise Period it will be possible to opt-out European patents, European patent applications and SPCs from the jurisdiction of the UPC.  The opt-out will mean only national courts and other national bodies will have jurisdiction over the relevant part(s) of opted-out European patents and European patent applications. The opted-out European patents and European patent applications will be treated as though the UPC did not exist.

When considering an opt-out, there are commercial issues to consider and procedural steps to take. The commercial issues are nuanced and are best discussed one-to-one with your attorney to make sure the appropriate approach is taken. Ultimately, patentees will need to evaluate the risk of losing a European patent by a central attack at the UPC against expanded geographic enforceability, and the effect this may have on how a patent may be put to use.

If you would like advice on the decision whether an opt-out is right for the European patents and patent applications you oversee, or if you have questions about the opt-out process more generally, please contact your usual attorney at Gill Jennings & Every.  We also have further resources available on our website available here and here.  In addition, you can contact us via