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Austria finalises parliamentary ratification procedure concerning the Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on provisional application

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On 2 December 2021, the Austrian Parliament successfully completed the ratification of the Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on provisional application (PPA). This is another very important step towards the start of the new system. As soon as Austria has deposited the ratification instrument, the period of provisional application will begin in order to complete all technical and infrastructural preparations so the new court can start and allow the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent system.

"The imminent completion of the ratification process by Austria is the final door opener for the long-awaited Unitary Patent scheme in Europe. In a few months from now it will be possible for innovating businesses, scientists and inventors to effectively protect their new technologies with a cost-attractive patent uniformly covering the territory of all participating EU member states", EPO President António Campinos said, welcoming the decision of the Austrian Parliament.

When the final preparatory works for the Unified Patent Court are completed during the period of provisional application, Germany is expected to take the final and decisive step by depositing its ratification instrument concerning the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). It will trigger a period of 3 to 4 months after which the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent system will go live.

Background: The Unitary Patent package

The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are the building blocks of the Unitary Patent package which will supplement and strengthen the existing centralised European patent-granting system. They will offer users a cost-effective option for patent protection and dispute settlement across the participating EU Member States.

Unitary Patents will make it possible to obtain uniform patent protection in up to 25 EU Member States by submitting a single request to the EPO, making the protection of inventions for patent holders simpler and more cost effective.

The UPC will be an international court with jurisdiction for infringement and revocation actions concerning patents granted by the EPO. This specialised court will make the Europe-wide enforcement of patents easier, offer greater legal certainty and reduce litigation costs. The Court is based on an international treaty, the UPCA.