It seems that we need to wait a little longer for the much anticipated introduction of the unitary patent (UP) and unified patent court (UPC).
Today, it was announced on the UPC website that the start of the sunrise period would be pushed back from 1 January 2023 to 1 March 2023 to allow practitioners additional time to acquire the required authentication tools to access the case management system of the UPC. This means that the Agreement of the UPC will now commence on 1 June 2023, and not the previously indicated 1 April 2023.
When the sunrise period does start various actions can commence, including the option to opt-out European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC. However, moving back the start of the sunrise period does mean that applicants of existing European patent applications hoping to request a unitary patent will need to delay where possible the granting of the European patent application until at least 1 June 2023.
For those applicants who receive a notice of acceptance, or who have already received a notice of acceptance, then it may be possible to formally delay the grant by submitting a delay request at the EPO, provided the requirement to respond to the notice of acceptance can be pushed to sometime after the start of the sunrise period.
If a unitary patent is for you, or if you would like to explore whether it may be suitable, then just let us know – we are here to help.