26 August 2022

The Unitary Patent: Possible options ahead of the EPO’s transitional measures

Although the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is anticipated to open its doors around March 2023 and European patent holders and applicants are busy reviewing their European patent portfolios to decide whether to opt out of its jurisdiction, the ability to formally select Unitary Patent protection is not yet available.

The transitional measures of the EPO – delay of grant as well as an ‘early request for unitary effect’ (for details, please click here) – will only come into force once the so-called sunrise period starts. This will be three to four months prior to the start of the UPC. Neither of these dates have ultimately been confirmed yet.

Thus, if you have already received your 71(3) communication, you will need to rely on other intervening measures if you want to have the opportunity. Such measures may make it possible to bridge the time until the transitional measures are in place. Whether or not this is possible for you will depend on the individual circumstances and details of your case and will need to be evaluated and discussed on a case by case basis.