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Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

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EU Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent

The European Union package includes two regulations that would create a European Patent with unitary effect (“Unitary Patent” or “UP”) and a Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (UPCA—a treaty) that would create a Unified Patent Court. The regulations specify that they would be effective on the same date as the UPCA on the first day of the fourth month after minimum ratification of the UPCA by 13 EU states including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. A Protocol that would permit some parts of the UPC Agreement to be applied on 30 days after ratification of the Protocol was opened for signature and signed by seven member states. See here.

It would permit organizational activities before the UPCA enters into full force and the court opens, including the recruitment of judges, testing of IT systems and early registration of opt-out demands. In a UK Referendum on June 23, 2016, 51.9% favored leaving the EU (“Brexit”). As a result, progress toward implementation of the UPC and UP has slowed, because the UK would necessarily play a key role in the UPC. Prior to that vote, the minimum necessary ratification of the UPCA had been expected before the end of 2016, and the UPC and first grant of UPs was expected in Spring 2017. As summarized on our Chronology page, preparations for the UP have been completed and preparations for the UPC are continuing. See also our FAQs 41-44.

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Updated July 14, 2016.


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