Preparing for change

How will the UPC come into force?

As the UPC is an entirely new court system, there is significant work involved in ensuring that it is ready to accept cases on day-one. To achieve a smooth start, the contracting EU MS have agreed the Protocol on the provisional application of the UPCA (“PAP-Protocol”). The PAP-Protocol allows for the establishment of the legal capacity and organisational capability of the UPC before the entry into force of the UPCA.

The Provisional Phase is now in progress (see here). The Provisional Phase allows for the finalisation of secondary legislation and Rules of Procedure, the Court filing system and IT infrastructure, financial budgets, and most importantly, the hiring of the UPC’s staff, including the appointment of approximately 45 legally-qualified judges and 50 technically-qualified judges.

The Provisional Phase is expected to last at least nine months.  Once the UPC Preparatory Committee and R-MS  are confident that the UPC infrastructure is in place, Germany will deposit its ratification of the UPCA. This will start the countdown to the official start of the UPC on the first day of the fourth month after German ratification (“Start Date”).

On the Start Date, the UPCA will come fully into effect and the associated EU Regulations (Regulations (EU) No. 1257/2012 and No. 1260/2012) will apply. The EPO Rules relating to the Unitary Patent Protection will also enter into force.

The date of deposit of the German ratification is also important for a number of pre-launch “Sunrise” periods associated with the UPC and UP protection. We expect there to be a three-month sunrise period when patentees can file “opt-outs” for existing EPs, as well as indicating that they wish to designate a UP for European patent applications proceeding to grant.

It is important that patentees allow sufficient time to adjust their patenting strategies and review their EP portfolios to ensure these are aligned to business needs ahead of the launch of the UPC.

Preparing for change

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and a new “unitary patent” or “European patent with unitary effect” (UP) are likely to become a reality in the second half of 2022.

What is UP?

The prosecution of European Patents will continue as before. At grant a European Patent (“EP”) will create a bundle of national rights but a new UP “designation” will become available.

What is the Unified Patent Court?

The UPC is a new common patents court with exclusive jurisdiction in respect of litigation (validity and infringement) for all EP(UPs) and non-exclusive jurisdiction over EPs validated in R-MS.

How do I opt-out of the UPC?

When the UPC comes into force, all existing and future European patents that are granted and validated in R-MS territories will become subject to the jurisdiction of the court.

Latest updates

Start of the UPC Sunrise Period delayed to 1 March 2023

The UPC sunrise period which was expected to start on 1 January 2023 has now been postponed to 1 March 2023. Consequently, the entry into force of the UPCA and …

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Gender diversity at the UPC

In Europe, women remain grossly under-represented in research and innovation. A recent study by the European Patent Office (EPO) found that only 13.2% of inventors in Europe are women. The …

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Comparing the value of European vs Unitary Patent Validation

The EPO’s European patent system is on the brink of the biggest change in a generation – from 2023 it is expected that a new unitary patent (UP) will become …

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EPO sets start of Unitary Patent transitional measures as 1 January 2023

The EPO has announced that it intends to adjust the start date of its transitional measures for Unitary Patents (UP) to 1 January 2023. From that date, applicants who have …

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Event - 10th November 2022

Webinar: basics and news about Unified Patent Court

HGF is hosting a webinar on 10th November to discuss ‘Basics and news about Unified Patent Court’. Date 10th November, 2022 Time 14:00 – approx. 15:30 (CET) About the webinar …

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UPC likely to be open on 1 April 2023

On 6 October the UPC preparatory team released its roadmap regarding the opening of the UPC. German ratification of the UPC agreement is likely to be on 19-23 December 2022, …

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Event - 25th October 2022

Webinar: Litigating in the Unified Patent Court

HGF hosted a webinar on 25th October to discuss ‘Litigating in the Unified Patent Court’. Date 25th October, 2022 Time Session 1 – 7:00 (BST) / 8:00 (CEST) / 15:00 …

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A new patent system dawns over Europe and presents opportunities for Ireland

Major changes to the European patent system will soon be coming into effect with the launch of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court expected to commence in Spring …

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