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16 November 2022
We have recently reported here and here that the European Patent Office (EPO) will be implementing two temporary measures with which applicants may (1) request a delay in the issuance of a European patent grant until the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, allowing a Unitary Patent to be obtained based on the European patent and (2) file an early request for unitary effect. The requirement is that there is a pending European application for which an intention to grant communication under R. 71(3) EPC has been issued which still needs to be replied to.
It was previously indicated by the EPO that the temporary period would begin on the date that Germany deposits its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement as we have previously reported here. The EPO’s very recent decision now changes the start date of the period for the transitional measures to January 1, 2023 which provides a greater degree of certainty for applicants. This temporary period will end on the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent Protection system which is expected to be April 1, 2023.