EPO Sets Start of Unitary Patent Transitional Measures to January 1, 2023

Nov 30 2022 - 14:49

Following the Unified Patent Court’s publication of the implementation roadmap, projecting the Unitary Patent (UP) system’s entry into operation on April 1, 2023, the European Patent Office (EPO) adjusted the starting date of its transitional measures to January 1, 2023.

The EPO’s transitional measures were first intended to take effect once Germany deposited its instrument of ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. Because the UPC’s roadmap projects Germany’s ratification by the end of December 2022 and consequently anticipates the sunrise period to begin on January 1, 2023, the EPO has decided to support the early uptake of the Unitary Patent and to make its transitional measures available ahead of the UP system’s entry into force.

As of January 1, 2023, two transitional measures will be available for European patent applications that have reached the final phase of the grant procedure, i.e. for which a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC has been dispatched. The two measures are interrelated but separate from a procedural perspective:

Early Unitary Effect Request

This measure will allow applicants to file early requests for unitary effect, allowing the EPO to apply the unitary effect immediately upon the UP system’s entry into force, provided all other requirements are met.

Delay in Issuing Grant Decision

This measure will allow applicants to request that EPO delays issuing its grant decision so that the patent is granted on or after the date of the UP system’s entry into force. This is to avoid that applicants for European patents due to be granted shortly before the start of the new system miss the opportunity to obtain a UP in the transitional phase.

The EPO website provides further details about the two transitional measures including examples.

Prepared by: Djurdja Krivokapić

For more information, please contact mail@petosevic.com.

Source: EPO website

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