26 January 2022

UPC newsflash: EPO announces two transitional measures to enable early uptake of Unitary Patent

The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced the introduction of transitional measures to encourage applicants towards an early uptake of the Unitary Patent effect. Details can be found here, but to make it slightly more accessible, we have put together a short summary for you.

The interrelated measures in question will be made available once the following requirements are met:

  • The deposit of Germany’s instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement has taken place. This date lies between three – four months before the official start of the Unified Patent Court and thus the Unitary Patent system. In other words, expect the measures to be available within the next approximately three – six months. Please note that we are monitoring developments on a daily basis and will publish any updates as soon as they occur.
  • In addition, a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC must have been despatched already for the European patent application(s) in question, i.e. the final phase of the grant proceedings has been reached.

Option 1: You may request delayed grant

A so called “request for a delay in issuing the grant” may be filed if a 71(3) communication has been received but approval of the text has not yet taken place. Note that “a request for delay filed on the same day as the approval of the text intended for grant will be considered to have been validly filed”.

Option 2: You may file an early request for unitary patent effect

Such a request will allow the EPO to “register unitary effect immediately at the start of the system”, provided the above requirements are met. 

If either of these options are of interest to you and/or you would like to find out more, please do get in touch with your usual contact at Mathys & Squire or email us at [email protected].