A Unitary Patent may be requested for any European patent granted on or after the date of application of Regulations (EU) No 1257/2012
and Regulations (EU) No 1260/2012
. These regulations will apply from the date of entry into force of the UPCA. The EPO will announce this date on its website.
To encourage early uptake of the Unitary Patent, the EPO has introduced two transitional measures
for users. These measures apply to European patent applications having reached the final stage of the grant procedure and will be made available ahead of the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent system as of 1 January 2023."
The first measure enables applicants to file requests for unitary effect before the start of the Unitary Patent system. These early requests for unitary effect will allow the EPO to register unitary effect immediately as soon as the system begins operating, provided all the requirements set forth in the UPR are met (for details please see the relevant notice from the EPO, OJ EPO 2022, A6
The second measure makes it possible for the applicant to request a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent after dispatch of a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC
by the EPO and before approving the text intended for grant. Such a request will ensure that the mention of the grant of the European patent is published in the European Patent Bulletin on or immediately after the date the Unitary Patent system enters into force, and will thus make a European patent eligible for Unitary Patent protection that would otherwise have been granted before the start of the new system (for details please see the relevant decision of the President and the accompanying notice from the EPO, OJ EPO 2022, A4
and OJ EPO 2022, A5
Detailed explanations as well as some examples on the two transitional measures can be found on the EPO's website
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Directorate European and International Legal Affairs, PCT (D 5.2.2)