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It has just been announced that the coming into force of the UP and UPC has been delayed until the later date of 1 June 2023. 

This means that the filing of opt-outs for the UPC and requests for a delay to grant can only be filed from the later date of 1 March 2023, not 1 January 2023 as stated below.

Please contact us if you have any queries with regard to this matter. 


*****  IMPORTANT NEWS *****

It is widely anticipated that the Unitary Patent (UP) and Unified Patent Court (UPC) will come into force on 1st April 2023.

This will have a significant impact on existing and future European Patents and Patent Applications, enabling a European Patent to be validated as a Unitary Patent in a single procedure across all Member States that have ratified the UPC Agreement.

There are currently 17 Member States that will participate in the UP when it commences, providing the possibility of obtaining a single European Patent having Unitary Effect across all these territories:

  •  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.

Territories that are not party to the Agreement, such as the UK, Spain, Poland and Ireland, will require a European Patent to be validated in the conventional manner before their national patent office.  

There are some crucial matters that need to be considered for both granted European Patents that have already been validated in Member States, as well as for pending Applications approaching grant.

The attached Newsletter (/assets/files/1667381504_upc-first-newsletter-(003).pdf) provides detailed information concerning the Unified Patent System and Unified Patents Court, including potential advantages and drawbacks of the system.  However, at the very least, European Patentees and Applicants should be aware of the following:

  • European Patents will automatically fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Unitary Patents Court.  This applies to existing European Patents validated in the classical manner as well as Unitary Patents.    However, for a limited period, classical European Patents may be OPTED-OUT of this exclusive jurisdiction for the life of the Patent, enabling the classical European Patent to fall under the jurisdiction of the national courts.  This may be preferable, at least in the early days of the UPC, but the Patent owner must be proactive and register the opt-out.  This may be done as early as January 2023 if the system does come into force on 1 April 2023 as widely expected. 
  • Applications approaching grant may request a DELAY in grant.  It is not possible to apply for unitary effect retrospectively and therefore if the Patent has already granted prior to commencement of the system it is likely to be too late to obtain Unitary Effect.   However, the EPO is allowing Applicant’s to request in a delay in grant in the months preceding introduction of the system to enable you to request Unitary Effect.  If you may wish to delay grant of your patent application, please advise.  
  • Applications that are pending will only be provided with a short one-month period post-grant to request Unitary Effect and file a full translation of the specification into another EU official language (assuming the specification was filed in English).  Therefore, consideration should be given now as to whether you may wish to maintain separate protection on grant by validating in each Member State in the classical manner and/or requesting a Unitary Patent supplemented by separate validations in non-UP territories.
Please contact us if you have any questions with regard to this new procedure. 


Sapphire IP client WAKING BEAUTY receives Double Gold in the British Inventors Society Invention Awards 2020/21 for their patented Waking Beauty Sleep System.

Shula Rich, one of the inventors of the system, said ""Thank you for making our invention a reality Kate" and "If you weren't my patent attorney I wouldn't have won the double Gold medal for my invention"

Very well done to WAKING BEAUTY.

Waking Beauty is a registered trade mark of The Tropical Shells Co.Ltd.

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