Unitary Patent – UP
The Unitary Patent system takes effect on 1st of June 2023.
Unitary Patent (UP) is a single, uniform patent that cover all EU Member States which have signed and ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) with a single filing, a single renewal fee and single court. A Unitary Patent is enforced centrally by the Unified Patent Court (UPC). A Unitary Patent is obtained by filing a “request for unitary effect” with the European Patent Office (EPO) no later than one month after the date of publication of the mention of the grant.
From the 1st of January 2023 until the Unitary Patent system takes into effect, EPO has introduced transitional measures to prepare for Unitary Patents. You can file for “early unitary effect” on European patents. This will allow EPO to register for unitary effect immediately at the start of the system.
The other transitional measure is “request for a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent“. Which makes it possible to delay issuing the decision to grant a European patent until the new system is in effect. This will make EPs eligible for Unitary Patent protection without having grant unitary effect before the new Unitary Patent system is in effect.
Unified Patent Court – UPC
Traditional European patents (EP) granted by EPO are filed, renewed, and enforced individually on national levels. All traditional European patents and Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) based on EPs after the Unitary Patent system is in effect will by default be subject to the jurisdiction of both the UPC and relevant national courts. There will however be a transitional period for at least 7 years when you are able to request an opt-out to withdraw from the UPC jurisdiction. If a request for opt-out is not filed, the initiator of a dispute can choose between a national court or UPC. Opt-out can also be withdrawn later to “opt back in”.
During the sunrise period, from the 1st of March until 31st of May. Applications to opt-out can be filed to ensure the opt-out is registered at the start of the new system. Opt-out becomes effective from the date of entry of the opt-out in the opt-out register. Applicable to EPs (published applications, granted patents and expired patents) and Supplementary Protection Certificates based on European patents.