The European patent office (EPO) announced earlier this week the starting date of its transitional measures relating to unitary patent protection.
As of 1 January 2023, patent applicants will be able to:
- file early requests for unitary effect; and
- file requests for a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent.
These two measures – announced in December 2021 – were introduced to support an early uptake of the Unitary Patent by the users. Cautiously, the EPO initially considered that these measures would only apply after Germany would have effectively ratified.
With this announcement the EPO hence anticipates the German ratification, following the lead of the Unified Patent Court, who declared that it will open its doors on 1st April 2023 (see implementation roadmap)
The transitory measures are applicable until the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent Protection system.
Philippe OCVIRK, Partner & European patent attorney