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UPC » Updated UPC timeline just announced

A few months into the Provisional Application Phase, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is definitely gaining momentum. Judges are being interviewed and the IT system, including the Case Management System, is said to be being finalised. Previously, the UPC Committee had been hoping to have the UPC up and running on 1 October 2022, but the UPC Preparatory Committee now estimates that the UPC will open its doors in Q4 2022 or Q1 2023. This 6-month window seems like a more realistic estimate and is not surprising to most people who have been following UPC progress. Nonetheless, now is the time for patent applicants to start thinking about their European patent portfolio in terms of the UPC and Unitary Patents (UPs).

At this point, applicants should start considering whether or not to opt out their existing European patents from the jurisdiction UPC? For example, opting out is sensible where applicants want to avoid the possibility of central UPC revocation of their key European patent assets. Longer term, all European patents will be subject to the jurisdiction of the UPC, so applicants who are particularly averse to the idea of central UPC revocation may wish to consider national filing strategies in addition to (or instead of) EPO filings.

There is also the question of whether patent applicants are interested in obtaining UPs from their existing European patent applications? UPS may be of particular interest in cases where a wide geographical coverage is valuable. For applications nearing allowance now, there are various ways in which grant could be delayed if a UP is of particular interest.

For more information, our website provides a number of FAQs, as well as a comprehensive Guide to UPs and the UPC. See for further details.

The timing of the start of operations of the Court depends on the progress of the preparatory work. It is a reasonable assessment that this will happen during the last quarter of 2022 or early 2023.

Relevant sectors
Consumer goods and retail
Food and beverage
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Trade marks
  • Mechanical products
  • Services
  • Telecommunications
  • Financial services
  • Cosmetics and perfumery
  • Consumer goods
  • Agrochemicals
  • Catalysts
  • Dispersiones y coloides
  • Lubricants
  • Polymers and plastics
  • Advanced materials
  • Composite materials
  • Metallurgy and alloys
  • Nanotechnology
Industrial manufacturing and processing
  • Packaging
  • Polymers and plastics
  • Printing tech
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Coatings
  • Construction
Electronics and electrical devices
  • Travel and leisure
  • Computer and IT architecture and system design
  • Medical devices
  • Optics
  • Robotics
  • Scientific instruments
  • Semiconductor devices
  • Wearable tech and human interfaces
Communications and networks 
  • Oceanography, marine
  • Cloud computing
  • Internet of things (IOT)
  • Wired and wireless networks
Energy and green technologies
  • Water, oil and gas, nuclear, fusion, fission
  • Clean air
  • Fuel cells and battery technology
  • Renewables and recycling
  • Biofuels
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Electric vehicles
  • Engines
  • Commercial aviation
  • Defence and security
  • Space and satellites
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Diagnostics
  • Generic market entry
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Methods of production and synthesis
  • Personalised medicine/disease biomarkers
  • Pharmaceutical formulations
  • Polymorphs
  • Small molecule pharmaceuticals
  • Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs)
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Women’s health products
  • Vaccinology (e.g. viral vectors; mRNA vaccines)
  • Therapeutic antibodies
  • Synthetic biology
  • Stem cell therapies
  • Recombinant protein production and purification
  • Personalised medicine/disease biomarkers
  • Nucleic acid synthesis
  • Bioinformatics
  • Immuno-oncology (e.g. checkpoint inhibitors; modified T cells)
  • GM crops
  • Genomic and molecular tools and methods
  • Gene editing (e.g. CRISPR)
  • Drug delivery
  • Biosimilars
  • Antibody manufacture and formulation
  • Antibody engineering
Medical devices and diagnostics 
  • Immuno-oncology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Devices
  • Diagnostic instruments
  • Digital health
  • Drug delivery
  • In vitro diagnostics
  • Medtech
Computing and software 
  • Digital assistants, virtual assistants and software agents
  • Multimedia, audio/video processing and animation
  • Software applications and systems, mobile applications, user interfaces
  • Data and software security, cryptography and digital rights management (DRM)
  • Data management and storage, databases and data compression
  • Metaverse, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
  • Search engines
  • Robotic process automation
  • Quantum computing
  • Natural language processing
  • Bioinformatics
  • Blockchain and distributed ledgers
  • Communications and networks
  • Computer games
  • Fintech and adtech
  • Machine vision
  • Motor capture
  • Signal processing
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning