The European Patent Office (EPO) and the participating countries are in the final stages of establishing the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC). This represents the biggest change to patent law in Europe for 40 years: it will create a single approach to patent registration and litigation across 25 European Member States with a combined population of over 400 million. All businesses need to make sure they are prepared for the changes that this will entail.

The introduction of a single system will make establishing patent protection across Europe easier and more effective, facilitating the protection of innovations and inventions. It will also make it possible to challenge patents and to obtain rulings preventing the distribution of goods and the use of patented processes across all the participating Member States. Any company operating in Europe for whom the protection and exploitation of intellectual property is an important concern should take the time to inform themselves about the new Unitary Patent system and develop a tailored patent strategy for Europe.

In addition to the existing knowledge and skills that we have developed as Europe's leading Patent Litigation firm, we have created a specialist UPC team to help our clients to navigate the new landscape effectively and to enable them to continue to protect their intellectual property in this new environment.

We believe our position as the only law firm with highly regarded patent experts on the ground in every major jurisdiction where there will be a division of the UPC puts us in a unique position to help you understand how the changes will impact on your existing patent portfolios and review your procedures to ensure you maximise its commercial value. Perhaps even more importantly, we are at home in all UPC divisions and familiar with the "couleur locale" that will make the difference within this court. We can do patent litigation in any language that the UPC will use.

Our unrivalled position as Europe's leading experts in patent law - we have been named Managing IP's European "Firm of the Decade" and for the past 5 years IAM Patent 1000 has identified Bird & Bird as the highest ranked firm internationally, with more patent experts than any other firm – also means we are ideally positioned to advise you in this area.

For any further information, please get in touch with your usual Bird & Bird contact or any member of our UPC team, or follow us @twobirdsIP for breaking news and commentary.