By now, unless you live in a total IP blackout zone, you’ve heard about the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC). Your friends in Europe, particularly, have been insistent on informing you, whether you want to know or not, with daily (if not hourly) email blasts, since January of this year. But most of what they tell you misses the forest for the trees. Here’s why. Let’s begin at the beginning. Aside from your client telling you to, why do you file a patent application? The only answer is: it is a hedge as to the future. The reason for that is that you and they have no way of knowing at the time of filing whether this will be the “next big thing” or just another “thing”. You might say or even believe that filing an application is about “protection” or potential “revenue”. But it isn’t.
On February 17, 2023, Germany ratified the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court. This means that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will definitely go live on June 1, 2023. Thus, it’s time to get one’s ducks in a row and to prepare for this new court system, which provides for a pan European injunction in patent matters. In order to faciliate such preparation, we will be providing a series of five articles that will deal with the most important aspects of the UPC. Whereas Part 1 focused on the designated UPC judges, this Part 2 will deal with the timelines that govern the proceedings before the UPC.
On February 17, 2023, Germany ratified the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court. This means that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will definitely go live on June 1, 2023. Thus, it’s time to get one’s ducks in a row and to prepare for this new court system, which provides for a new pan European injunction in patent matters. In order to faciliate such preparation, we will be providing a series of five articles over the coming months until the system starts that will deal with the most important aspects of the UPC.
The long-awaited introduction of the Unitary Patent and UPC should provide much interest in 2023, with attention likely to focus on the early numbers of applications for unitary effect, as well as the number of European patents opted out and the volume and nature of cases brought before the Court. At the EPO, decisions are expected from the Enlarged Board of Appeal in Case G 2/21, which concerns plausibility and post-published evidence, and Cases G 1/22 and G 2/22, concerning entitlement to priority. Oral proceedings in G 2/21 were held on 24 November. And the UK Supreme Court should hear the DABUS case and deliver its judgment in 2023.
The European Union Unified Patent Court (UPC) announced this week that the court’s Sunrise Period will be delayed by two months. The Sunrise Period has a new planned opening date of March 1, 2023, with the entry into force of the UPC Agreement (UPCA) pushed to June 1, 2023. In an official announcement, Klaus Grabinski, President of the UPC Court of Appeal, and Johannes Karcher, Acting Chairman of the Administrative Committee, said, “the additional time is intended to allow future users to prepare themselves for the strong authentication which will be required to access the Case Management System (CMS) and to sign documents.”
The Unified Patent Court (UPC) plans to open for business on April 1, 2023. Its likely place among the world’s preeminent patent courts can be inferred, at least in part, from the territorial and subject matter jurisdiction of this novel court. In Europe, several courts enjoy established reputations for patent litigation, notably in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland and Italy. These courts, as well as the European Patent Office (EPO), which also enjoys a strong reputation for its case law, are the preferred venues of plaintiffs for enforcing or seeking to invalidate European patents. Due to the size and economic weight of the region, the importance of European patents, and the bench of experienced patent judges and practitioners, Europe will without doubt continue to attract a substantial share of patent litigation worldwide.
The long-awaited EU Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) looks likely to be launched in 2022, after Germany’s top court rejected two challenges to ratification on Friday, July 9. In its decision, the Federal Constitutional Court rejected both the applications for preliminary injunction directed against the Act of Approval to ratify the Agreement of February 19, 2013 on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). (BVerfG, Beschluss des Zweiten Senats vom 23. Juni 2021- 2 BvR 2216/20 -, Rn. 1-81.)
Join Gene Quinn, Michael Fröhlich, and Tony Proctor for a frank discussion of the pros and cons of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. This webinar will address: (1) What you need to know about the Unitary Patent and the UPC; (2) Pros and Cons of the Unitary Patent; (3) Pros and Cons of opting out of the UPC; and (4) Obtaining a German patent as a hedge against uncertainty.
Effective June 11, 2017, the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany has agreed to suspend the Presidential signature required for formal ratification of the UPC Agreement. This suspension will remain in place until the German Federal Constitutional Court (“Bundesverfassungsgericht”) has reached a decision in the ongoing expedited proceedings relating to an action (“Verfassungsbeschwerde”) challenging the ratification.
On 23 June 2016, the British citizens will hold their referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union. Should they vote for the UK to leave the EU (the so-called ‘Brexit’), the new European unitary patent system is likely to collapse before it started… If the UK was to refuse to ratify the European Patent Court Treaty after the exit vote on June 23 2016, the Treaty would also need to be renegotiated so that UK ratification is no longer required for the Treaty’s entry into force. Without such renegotiation, this requirement would only cease to apply when the UK has in fact left the EU.