The EPO has announced the Unitary Patent (UP) transitional measures will start on 1 January 2023. This follows the announcement from the Unified Patent Court (UPC) authorities that the full entry into force of the UPC and the start of the Sunrise Period will be delayed by two months. The EPO could have decided to keep the duration of the UP transitional measures in line with the Sunrise Period duration, but a decision has been made to allow the length of these two periods to diverge.
The end of the UP transitional measures is tied to the date of full entry into force of the UPC. This means the UP transitional measures will now last for five months. If there is a further delay to the full entry into force of the UPC, the EPO’s decision to have the UP transitional measures start on 1 January 2023 will mean the UP transitional provisions will be available for a longer period.
The practical repercussions of the EPO’s announcement are that formal steps to gain access to a UP will be available on more European patent applications, but this will mean a delay to grant of up to five months or more for some cases. While some will be pleased a UP will be available to them, others will be keen to have rights granted so will not welcome this delay.
If you have any questions on the matters addressed in this article, or on any other UPC and UP matters, please email us at email@example.com or contact your usual GJE attorney.