All EU member states, except for Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Poland, participate in the unitary patent protection system and the UPC. Spain is not participating in the UPC or the unitary patent protection system. Croatia became a member of the EU after the adoption of the UPC Agreement and the two EU regulations on unitary patent protection, and has not yet decided whether or not to participate. Poland and Czech Republic participates in the two EU regulations on unitary patent protection, but does not intend to ratify the UPC Agreement. This means that the two countries will in effect be standing on the sidelines.
The UPC is composed of a Court of First Instance and a Court of Appeal. The Court of First Instance has a central division and a number of local and regional divisions. The central division is seated in Paris, and a section will be located in Munich. Another section is to be established in Milan before 24 June 2024. The Court of Appeal is seated in Luxembourg.
Local divisions of the UPC may be set up in the individual participating countries. A participating country may establish up to four local UPC divisions (the requirement is at least 100 patent cases a year per local division if more than one local division is to be set up). UPC participating countries may also join forces to set up a regional division. At present, only Sweden and the Baltic countries have done so.
Malta and Luxembourg have announced that they will use the central division.
Unless a country has established a local division, the central division of the UPC will be used for the actions that would otherwise have to be brought before the local division.