Transitional measures for unitary patent due to start on 1 January


The EPO announced yesterday that its transitional measures, which assist an applicant for a European patent to obtain a unitary patent on the day the Unified Patent Court (UPC) opens (“start date”), are due to start on 1 January 2023. This date reflects the UPC’s implementation roadmap which presently anticipates that the UPC will open on 1 April 2023 and the “sunrise period” (during which European patents may be opted out of the UPC’s jurisdiction before the start date) will start on 1 January. The EPO’s transitional measures are the following:

  • The applicant for a European patent coming to grant shortly before the start date may request that the issue of a decision to grant a European patent is delayed until the start date so they do not miss the opportunity to obtain a unitary patent. They will then have one month from the start date to request unitary effect.
  • The applicant for a European patent may file an early request for unitary effect, so a unitary patent will be granted immediately on the start date. This request may only be made after the applicant has received a “Rule 71(3) EPC-communication” (in which the EPO informs the applicant of the text in which it intends to grant the patent), and the applicant may also need to delay the grant (as above).

Myles Jelf


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