Unified Patent Court earmarks 1 April 2023 start date


Preparations for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are taking shape as the UPC Preparatory committee has indicated a target start date of 1 April 2023 for the new judicial system to be operational.


An updated implementation roadmap lays out the key activities and milestones leading up to the entry into force of the court, including setting a likely date for Germany to deposit its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement as between 19-23 December 2022.


This would trigger the start of the so-called ‘sunrise period’ on 1 January 2023, lasting three months, and during which steps to opt-out “classic” European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC can be taken in advance of its commencement.


Although the UPC Preparatory committee have made it clear that this timeline could be subject to change and only reflects the current state of the UPC project, this is the strongest indication yet of an expected start date that they are working towards for the Court to open its doors and start to receive cases – which means as things stand unitary patents will be made available and litigable within 6 months.


Notable milestones from this implementation roadmap have already passed, including the appointment of judges and the election of the UPC’s Presidium.


Stakeholders and owners of existing European patents are advised to prepare for the start of the ‘sunrise period’ by speaking to their usual Forresters attorney or Jack Gunning.