Here is an update regarding the The Unitary Patent system, including Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent.
Which milestones have been reached?
This summer marked an important milestone for the Unitary Patent Package, when the Administrative Committee of the Unified Patent Court held its second meeting on July 8th.
According to the official statement made by the Administrative Committee, start of operations of the Court is now expected to be early 2023.
During the meeting, the Committee confirmed setting-up local and regional divisions of the Court of First Instance. In Sweden we will host a Nordic-Baltic regional court in Stockholm operating in English, Germany will set up four local divisions (Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim, Munich) in addition to the central division in Munich, and our neighbors Denmark and Finland will also host local divisions of their own.
On September 1st, 2022 the Court’s Rules of Procedure and Table of Fees will enter into force, which is a major step to ensure that the Court will function effectively. In addition to this, the Committee adopted a sustainable travel policy as well as various personnel policies.
The start of operations for the Court will be triggered by the entry into force of the UPC Agreement (UPCA), which will occur the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the German instrument of ratification. This deposit will also be the start of the sunrise period during which it will be possible to opt out existing European patents from the jurisdiction of the Court.
As the preparatory work for the court is well underway, we may expect the deposit to take place as early as during the last quarter of 2022, in accordance with the Committee’s statement on the start of operations.
If you are a Proprietor or an Applicant – this is what you need to consider!
Proprietors for European patents should begin to carefully consider their options with regards to opting-out of the UPC, which we have previously written about.
As a reminder, there are currently 17 states that have already ratified the Agreements and will participate in the Unitary Patent when it starts: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.
For those applicants who wish to obtain a Unitary patent, The European Patent Office has decided to introduce two transitional measures applicable to European patent applications having reached the final phase of the grant procedure, and these will be available 3-4 months before the entry into force of the UPCA.
They include an early request for unitary effect, and a possibility for the applicant to request a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent after dispatch of a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC, i.e. the intention to grant a European Patent.
Since these two transitional measures have not yet taken effect, applicants who still wish to use the new Unitary patent will have to find alternative strategies to delay the issuance of the intention to grant, e.g. by requesting extensions of time for responding to outstanding office actions.
Time to develop a strategy for your European patent portfolio
A strategy must be developed for your European patent portfolio as soon as possible. This should enable the filing of any opt-out requests quickly once the Registry of the UPC opens up during the sunrise period, as well requesting that currently pending applications be part of the new system
The advisors of both Gulliksson and Ström & Gulliksson are on hand to answer any questions that you might have about the Unitary patent system, and to help you make the best strategic decisions for your company.
Written by: Sofia Willquist, European Patent Attorney, Qualified as certified litigator before the UPC
The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court
Joint expertise and resources to help you navigate in the new system and choose the right strategy.
As a client you will benefit from our long-standing collaboration with Ström & Gulliksson, one of the leading patent firms in Sweden within intellectual property. We jointly, and successfully, represent clients in national and international patent proceedings. With our top tier patent litigators and top tier patent attorneys you will reap considerable strategic and competitive benefits.
Read our article on how to opt out here – The Unitary Patent system: Opting out – a decision to start considering, and our first article UP and UPC are about to happen (again)
To find out more about the UP and the UPC, please contact: