After many twists and turns over more than four decades, the implementation of a so-called “Unitary Patent Package”, i.e. the establishment of a Unitary Patent and a Unified Patent Court (UPC), now seems close to coming to fruition.
The UPC Agreement has to be ratified by the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The UK and France have ratified it (although the UK has since withdrawn), and Germany recently passed new legislation through its parliament which allows it to ratify the Agreement. The remaining ratification step is therefore now possible.
Consent is still needed for the UPC’s provisional application phase to come into force, but at present the UPC Preparatory Committee estimates that the UPC will start operations around mid-2022.
When the Unitary Patent Package comes into being, it will provide a single approach to patent protection and enforcement across up to 24 participating European Union Member States, with a combined population of around 350 million. Using the existing European patent application procedure, a Unitary Patent will be administered centrally by the European Patent Office. Once obtained, a Unitary Patent will be enforceable throughout the participating Member States in a single action brought before the new UPC.
As a pan-European intellectual property law firm, with offices and attorneys in the UK and several EU-member states, along with a specialist UPC team, we will be able to guide clients through the Unitary Patent landscape and provide representation so that they have the option of obtaining and enforcing their intellectual property rights in this new environment.