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Latest update on Unitary Patent
Latest update on Unitary Patent and Unitary Patent Court
2022 01 10

The latest update on Unitary Patent (UP): it will be a single patent with a unitary effect in most EU countries. There are no validation costs and potentially reduced translation requirement and cost in the transitional period and reduced translation requirement and costs after the transitional period. Also, one renewal fee for unitary patents will only be payable to EPO and not to each validated country.

Several significant developments happened recently, supporting the view that UPC and UP will become a reality around the end of 2022 or early 2023.

 

Latest updates

On 27 September 2021, Germany ratified the Protocol on the Provisional Application of the UPC Agreement (PAP-Protocol). That also means that Germany intends finally to ratify the UPC agreement soon. On 15 October 2021, the Slovenian government deposited its instrument of ratification PAP-Protocol) and the UPC Agreement itself, bringing the Unified Patent Court one step closer to its launch. You can find the UPC Agreement ratification progress here.

The last significant event happened on 2 December 2021. The Austrian Parliament completed the ratification of the PAP protocol. The Austrian government will formally deposit its ratification shortly. You can find the PAP-Protocol ratification progress here.

Austria will become the 13th member country that will ratify the PAP- Protocol, which will clear the way for the establishment of the UPCA in 16 and up to 24 of the 27 members of the European Union ( EU member states Spain, Poland, and Croatia do not participate in unitary patent system).

 

As soon as Austria has deposited the ratification instrument, the period of a provisional application will begin. During this period, final preparations for the UPC will be made, including the Court’s first budget, the completion of the electronic case management system, stress testing, and the process of appointment the judges of the Court. The provisional application period will last from six to ten months. The most likely scenario is eight months.

 

Latest update on Unitary Patent: Advantages

As soon as Germany completes its ratification process of the UPC Agreement, there are four months before it can come into force. Then the UPC can start to operate, and unitary patents may be requested. Although the UK withdrew its ratification from the UPC agreement, applicants will still be able to benefit from the advantages of the unitary patent system. The main advantages are:

 

  • A unitary patent will be a single patent with a unitary effect in most EU countries;
  • No validation costs and potentially reduced translation requirement and cost in the transitional period and reduced translation requirements and costsafter transitional period;
  • One renewal fee for unitary patents will only be payable to EPO and not to each validated country;
  • Central litigation in the UPC.

 

Disadvantages of UPs

However, in addition to the above disadvantage, the UK left the unitary patent system. There are the main disadvantages of a unitary patent:

 

  • Unitary Patent may only be limited, transferred, revoked, or lapsed in respect of all participating member states together;
  • It will not be possible to opt-out of the UPC for a unitary patent;
  • First unitary patents will cover only the participating member states that have ratified the UPCA when requesting the unitary patents.

 

Should I choose Unitary Patent?

Whether to choose a unitary patent or not depends on the client’s commercial strategy. Each case is different. Individual decisions will be needed. Our (European) patent attorneys, lawyers, and team, experienced in prosecution and litigation, are ready to help. We offer EP validation strategy evaluation, unitary patent requests, and other UP/UPC services.

Applicants should contact European patent attorneys when their EP is still in the application phase before a grant, under exceptional circumstances – when they have a recent grant. That is because the term for unitary effect will be concise, and, along with the request, there must be a filed translation.

 

You can find more information on Unitary Patent (UP) and Unitary Patent Court (UPC) on our Unitary Patent page.

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