What languages does the UPC use?

Central Division

Proceedings at the central division will be in the language in which the patent was granted.

Local/Regional Divisions

Proceedings at the local/regional divisions will be in either:

  • An official language of the Member State in which the division is located; or
  • An official language of the EPO (English, French, German) provided the Member State has so designated (most local/regional divisions are expected to designate English as an official language and possibly all will do); or
  • The language in which the patent was granted (on agreement by the parties - if the panel does not approve the language chosen by the parties, the parties may request the case is referred to the central division).

Where more than one language is designated in a local or regional division, the claimant may choose any of those designated. However, there is a specific exception that applies if the defendant has their domicile or principal place of business in country in which the local/regional division is sited AND the infringement only took place in that country - then the official language of that country is to be used. Countries with more than one official language may additionally specify that the language should be that of the defendant (this rule will likely only apply in Belgium as between defendants in French- and Flemish-speaking parts of the country; but if there is more than one such defendant and they have different languages, the claimant may choose which of those languages to use).

Court of Appeal

The language of proceedings before the Court of Appeal may be:

  • The language of proceedings before the Court of First Instance;
  • The language in which the patent was granted (on agreement by the parties); and
  • Exceptionally, another language of a participating Member State (on agreement by the parties)
Written by Joanne Welch.

Interested in learning more about the UPC? This is one of a series of short explainers about the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court. The full list of articles is:

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