Provisional application of the UPCA to start

19 January 2022

The Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on provisional application (PPA) enters into force today, following the deposit of the instrument of ratification by Austria yesterday. The final preparations for the Unified Patent Court will now start.

EPO President António Campinos said:

"With the start of the provisional application, the Unitary Patent will now become a reality. A cost-attractive patent, uniformly covering the territory of all participating EU member states will be available a few months from now. Thus, the patent system will more effectively support growth and innovation, help more efficiently to tackle challenges like the COVID-pandemic, and foster economic growth to overcome the current crisis. "

During the period of provisional application, to be expected to take eight months, the technical and infrastructural preparations for the Unified Patent Court will be completed to allow the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent system before the end of the year. The deposit by Germany of its ratification instrument of the UPCA, already approved in December 2020, will  formally trigger the entry into force of the UPCA and allow the Unified Patent Court to start working.

With a view to supporting patent applicants in an early uptake of the Unitary Patent, the EPO will introduce transitional measures with respect to European patent applications having reached the final phase of the grant procedure. These measures will be made available ahead of the entry into force of the Unitary Patent system.

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. 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.

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