Novel tetranuclear Cu(II) complexes in which four Cu(II) ions are arranged in a square planar fashion by four bis(bipyridyl)pyrimidine ligands were investigated by X and Q band ESR in the temperature range 4.2-300 K. The ESR spectra of this grid-like structure were well simulated as rising from triplet species. Analysis of their intensities allowed the spectra to be assigned to the first excited triplet state, and revealed intramolecular antiferromagnetic coupling of the Cu(II) spins. The isotropic exchange interaction J was determined as -47 K and reducing to about -5 K on functionalizing the bridging pyrimidine ring at the 2-position by methyl or phenyl. For comparison an ESR investigation was also carried out on the mononuclear analogue Cu(II)—(terpyridine)2 complexes with substituted terpyridine ligands at the 5' and 5'' position. Depending on the substitutent, the spectra exhibit a static or dynamic Jahn—Teller effect at room temperature. The temperature dependence of their g-values is examined by a modified Silver—Getz model which includes cooperative Jahn—Teller interactions. There is evidence that both an anisotropic spin exchange contribution to D = 0.0159 cm-1 and a coupled (static) Jahn—Teller effect are responsible for efficient coupling between the four Cu(II) ions in the grid complexes with non-substituted pyrimidine bridges.