Launch of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC)
On June 1, 2023, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) started its activities after years of delays, in particular due to two constitutional law suits in Germany. Since that day, the European Patent Office also grants European patents with unitary effect (also called unitary patents).
Before launch, during the so-called sunrise period, existing EP bundle patents could be taken out of the jurisdiction of the UPC (opt-out). This possibility of opting out will be available for a transitional period of at least seven years.
In addition, patent applicants or owners will in future be able to choose between three (partly) alternative protection variants: national patent applications and European patent applications with or without unitary effect. In many contracting states of the European Patent Convention, it is also possible to obtain utility model protection as an alternative to patent protection. Patent applicants thus have a wide range of options open to them.
In an article in the professional journal "ÖBl" (only available in German), Rainer Beetz presents practical considerations on the advantages and disadvantages of the available alternatives. These are intended as a support for decision making regarding a request for unitary effect or an opt-out, as well as for the development of a defense and enforcement strategy.
More information on unitary patent and UPC is available here.