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20 January 2022
On 18 January 2022, Austria deposited the instrument of ratification of the Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on provisional application (PPA). This means that, after several years of stalling and legal battles, sufficient countries have now met the requirements for the PPA to commence the final preparations for the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
During this period of provisional application, which is expected to take about eight months, the technical and infrastructural preparations for the UPC will be established, finally leading to the opening of the Court probably by the end of the year. When the state parties are confident that the Court is functional, Germany will deposit its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement, which will trigger a countdown of four months for the UPC entry into force. A sunrise period will commence three months before the start of the UPC allowing patent holders to opt-out of the UPC’s jurisdiction so that the national courts retain sole jurisdiction over a given European patent.
Whereas Unitary Patents will make it possible for patent holders to obtain uniform patent protection at a lower cost in several EU Member States by submitting a single request to the EPO, the UPC will be an international court with jurisdiction for infringement and revocation actions concerning patents granted by the EPO.
At De Clercq & Partners we will keep a close eye on UPC developments as the PPA proceeds towards completion. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or remarks on this topic.