Skip to content
Administrative committee of the UPC
When the Protocol to the UPC Agreement comes into force, this committee will take over from the preparatory committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC).  Like the preparatory committee, its membership will be made up of the 25 member states participating in the unitary patent system.
Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement)
An intergovernmental agreement establishing the UPC and signed on 19 February 2013 by 25 member states (currently Spain, Poland and Croatia have not signed) and that broadly sets out how the UPC will be organised and administered.
Assignment
The act of transferring an interest in property or rights (such as patent rights) to another.
Bifurcation
Where there are separate proceedings for patent infringement and patent validity.  The UPC Agreement and the Rules of Procedure in particular provide the option of bifurcation of infringement and revocation proceedings. Infringement proceedings will be before one panel of judges in a Local or Regional Division, and invalidity before another panel of judges in the Central Division.
Brexit
Colloquial portmanteau for the possible withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
Central Division
A division of the Court of First Instance of the UPC.  It will be located in Paris with specialist sections in London and Munich.
Divisional application
A separate patent application made from an existing patent application (known as the parent application) and containing subject matter derived from the parent application.  Both parent and divisional applications will usually share the same priority date.
Entitlement
Refers to the right of a patentee to a patent.
European Patent Convention (EPC)
A multilateral treaty signed in 1973 that provides an autonomous legal system under which European patents are prosecuted and granted by the EPO.  All member states participating in the unitary patent system are signatories to the EPC.
European Patent Office (EPO)
The body that examines and grants European patents pursuant to the European Patent Convention. It is the executive body for the European Patent Organisation. It will also be responsible for some administrative tasks relating to unitary patents.
International patent application
A patent application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
Licence
The right to undertake acts which would otherwise constitute infringement of a patent (or other right), often with conditions attached to such use.  Multiple licences may be granted for each patent.  An exclusive licence is a licence granted to the exclusion of all others including the patent owner.
Local Divisions
Divisions of the Court of First Instance of the UPC. They are located in individual participating member states that have elected to host them.
Member states participating in the unitary patent system
Those 25 EU member states which have elected to participate in the Unitary Patent Regulations and who have signed and ratified the UPC Agreement.  Spain and Croatia chose not to participate in the Unitary Patent Regulations, and Spain, Croatia and Poland have not signed the UPC Agreement. 
Opposition proceedings
An administrative process before the EPO that allows third parties to challenge the validity of a patent granted by the EPO (for European patents and unitary patents).  A third party wishing to oppose a patent must do so within 9 months of the grant of the patent.
Opt-out
An administrative measure in which a European patent, European patent application, or SPC (not based on a unitary patent) can be opted out of the exclusive jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court during a transitional period, initially 7 years. The opt-out can be withdrawn.
Patent
A legal right giving a person or body corporate an exclusive monopoly of 20 years (extendable in certain circumstances) over an invention. 
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
An international patent law treaty signed in 1970 which provides a procedure for filing patent applications (but not prosecuting them).
Preparatory committee of the UPC
The committee responsible for the preparatory work necessary to set up the UPC. The 25 member states who signed the UPC Agreement make up the membership of the preparatory committee. It will exist until the UPC is established.
Protective letter
A pleading filed with the UPC in anticipation of an application for provisional measures being brought by a patentee, explaining why the application for provisional measures should fail.  Its aim is to minimise the risk that the UPC will make an order for provisional measures without inviting further submissions from the defendant.
Protocol on the Provisional Application of Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (Protocol to the UPC Agreement)
The document that establishes a provisional period under which the organisational, financial and institutional provisions of the UPC Agreement can be applied.
Regional Divisions
Divisions of the Court of First Instance of the UPC established by several participating member states in cooperation as an alternative to each of them hosting a local division (or electing for relevant proceedings to be heard before the Central Division).
Rules of Procedure
The rules governing the procedure for cases brought before the UPC.
Sunrise period
The period, during the provisional application of the UPC Agreement, when the UPC Registry will accept applications to opt-out (made possible by the Protocol to the UPC Agreement and the current draft of the Rules of Procedure).
Supplementary protection certificate (SPC)
A sui generis national intellectual property right that extends the period of patent protection for certain pharmaceutical and plant products. 
Transitional period
A finite period, currently 7 years, but extendable, provided for by Article 83 of the UPC Agreement when European patents may be opted out of the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC.
Unified Patent Court (UPC)
A proposed common patent court open to all EU member states participating in the unitary patent system with exclusive jurisdiction over certain patent matters (including infringement and revocation proceedings) for European patents (unless opted out), unitary patents and SPCs issued for unitary patents.
Unified Patent Court Registry or Registry
The administrative arm of the UPC.
Unitary patent (also referred to as a European patent with unitary effect)
A new type of European patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) under the European Patent Convention (EPC) that upon the request of the patent owner is given unitary effect for the member states participating in the new unitary patent system without the need for validation in these member states.
Unitary Patent Regulations
Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 and Regulation (EU) No 1260/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council both dated 17 December 2012, passed under the enhanced cooperation procedure under which member states can elect not to participate, which together provide for the creation of unitary patents.
Unitary patent system (sometimes referred to as unitary patent regime, EU patent package, EU patent scheme, EU patent package)
A term used to collectively describe the two interconnected patent initiatives in Europe – the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
The international body responsible for the protection of intellectual property rights across cooperating countries. It administers the PCT.
 

 

Cookies on the EU Patents Matter website

This website uses cookies to allow us to see how the site is used. The cookies cannot identify you. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this.

If you want to use the sites without cookies or would like to know more, you can do that here.