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The EPO is getting ready for the unitary patent – are you?

At the beginning of February 2022, the European Patent Office (EPO) President met with the Chair of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Preparatory Committee, the representatives of the participating members states in charge of the five work streams for the Preparatory Committee and the Chair of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council in charge of the unitary patent. According to the recent Official Journal of the EPO, the following statements were made:

President Campinos emphasised the importance of close co-operation between all partners in the final preparatory phase: "The start of the provisional application period last month gave the signal that the UPC/UPP package will soon become a reality," he said. "I am confident that thanks to the well-proven co-operation of our dedicated teams and the coordination of our joint efforts, we will be able to deliver the final tasks as planned and usher in the long-awaited Unitary Patent to the benefit of our users."

Alexander Ramsay, Chair of the UPC Preparatory Committee, stated: "It is hugely encouraging to have come this far. We are now highly motivated to work, together with our partners, to conclude the preparations."

Jérôme Debrulle, Chair of the Select Committee, said: "This major long-awaited reform of the European patent system has never been so close. The EPO Select Committee in charge of the implementation of the Unitary Patent will complete its work by 30 June 2022. The main task which remains on its agenda is the finalisation of an ambitious communication programme in the interest of users and the EPO member states."”

The message from all involved with the UP and the UPC is therefore that things are progressing well and that a start date towards the end of 2022 is possible. A timeline with the ‘earliest’ possible dates is shown below.

Screenshot 2022 02 17 at 15 14 59

Preparation for the biggest change in the European patent landscape should therefore be at the top of patent owners “to do” list. In particular, a consideration of whether:

  1. to “opt-out” existing European patents,
  2. delay grant for European patent applications that have received an ‘intention to grant’ (Rule 71(3) EPC) Communication, and
  3. request unitary effect for existing European patent applications.

More information can be found in our UP & UPC guides and webinars.

Visit our UP & UPC website pages
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