The Unified Patent Court (UPC) has announced a two month delay to the beginning of the sunrise period and the opening of the UPC due to IT difficulties. According to the adjusted timetable the sunrise period will start on 1 March 2023 and the UPC will open its doors to litigants on 1 June 2023. If the UPC adheres to that timing, the European Patent Office will also start granting Unitary Patents (UPs) from 1 June 2023, the day on which the UPC Agreement will come into force. A UP will be a single patent granted by the European Patent Office having effect in participating UPC member countries and which can only be litigated at the UPC. From 1 June 2023, the UPC will also have jurisdiction over national validations of granted European patents, unless opted out.
The sunrise period is a period during which national validations of European Patents can be opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC before the UPC opens. Opting a nationally validated European Patent out of the jurisdiction of the UPC will protect it from a central validity attack filed at the UPC. We are writing to our clients seeking instructions for opting out nationally validated European Patents. Patentees are recommended to check that they have up-to-date information regarding ownership of their nationally validated European patents and you can view our webinar “Opting out of the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court – Why, When and How?” here.
The European Patent Office has announced that from 1 January 2023 on, it will be possible to request that the EPO delays grant of a European Patent Application until after the coming into force of the UPC Agreement, so that a Unitary Patent can be requested. Applicants may wish to consider this option for cases approaching grant at the EPO.
For more information contact your usual J A Kemp adviser.