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The date is clear for entry into force of the Unitary Patent system
2022 10 17

The UPC Preparatory committee’s team has already announced that the entry into force of the UPC Agreement is currently planned for 1 April 2023, with the Court opening its doors and starting to receive cases as from that date.

 

On October 6, 2022 UPC preparatory committee has also published implementation roadmap* which presents all the key activities and milestones of the UPC in the coming months.

 

One of the most important activities is Germany’s final ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. According to the roadmap, Germany will deposit its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement in the week before Christmas this year. Germany’s UPCA ratification will also trigger the start of the “sunrise period” which will begin from 1 January 2023. The “sunrise period” will last three months and it will be a safe time of period during which applications to opt-out can be made before the UPC becomes operative. Opting out removes jurisdiction from the UPC and European patent applications, granted and validated European patents, SPC’s may be revoked in separate actions in the national courts only in the way they are revoked now. Opt-out request removes the risk of central revocation. Here it is worth mentioning that unitary patents are always subject to the jurisdiction of the UPC and cannot be opted-out.

 

With a view to supporting applicants in an early uptake of the unitary patent, earlier European patent office (EPO) has introduced two transitional measures applicable to European patent applications having reached the final phase of the grant procedure. These two measures will be made available within temporary period, from the date of deposit of Germany’s instrument of ratification of UPC Agreement, therefore, according this roadmap,  it should be from the end of December. The first transitional measure will allow applicants to file early requests for unitary effect already before the start of the Unitary Patent system. If the requirements for the registration of unitary patent are met with the early filed request, the EPO will register unitary effect once the system starts. Second measure- request for a delay in issuing the grant decision will allow applicants to delay the formal grant until UPC becomes operational, so that unitary patent protection can be requested.

 

UPC preparatory committee indicates that his published plan and dates reflect the current state of the UPC project and therefore, might be subject to change.
Nevertheless, in spite of that, this plan looks really realistic and applicants should already be in the final stages of preparation for coming changes.

 

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