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EPO Confirms Transitional Measures For Unitary Patent Will Be Available From 1 January 2023 – Patent


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Following the announcement earlier this week that the expected
start date of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has been pushed back to 1 June
, the European Patent Office (EPO) has confirmed
that its transitional measures in relation to the Unitary Patent
(UP) will be available from 1 January 2023 as originally

Delaying grant to maintain the option of Unitary Patent

The first of the transitional measures allows an applicant for a
European patent which is in order for grant to request delayed
grant of the application until the Unitary Patent is available as a
validation option.

Thus, with effect from 1 January 2023, it will be possible to
request delayed grant for any application for which a communication
under Rule 71(3) EPC (informing the applicant of the text intended
for grant and requesting the applicant’s approval of that text)
has been issued, as long the applicant has not yet approved the
text. In response to such a request the EPO will delay the grant of
the European patent until the start of the UPC/UP system, to ensure
that the option to validate the granted European Patent as a
Unitary Patent is open to the applicant.

Early request for unitary effect to secure Unitary
Patent protection as early as possible

The second transitional measure allows an applicant to file a
request for unitary effect before the start date of the UPC/UP
system, so that a European patent (when granted), will be validated
as a Unitary Patent as soon as the UPC/UP system comes into

Thus, with effect from 1 January 2023, it will be possible to
request unitary effect early for any pending European patent
application for which a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC has been
issued. Provided that the request fulfils the EPO’s formal
requirements, the EPO will register the European patent (when
granted) as a Unitary Patent once the UPC/UP system has come into
effect, and will notify the applicant of the date of this

Further information on the UP/UPC system is available here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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