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Legal Alert: Update on EU Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court Developments

April 22, 2016

Legal Alert: Update on EU Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court Developments

April 22, 2016

Back to Fish's Patent Blog

 

The UK vote on whether to leave the EU (Brexit) on June 23rd is probably the key to whether the Unified Patent Court (UPC) opens and the Unitary Patent (UP) becomes available as planned in the Spring of 2017. Progress toward implementation of the UPC and UP will stall if UK voters choose to leave the EU, because the UK would necessarily play a key role in the UPC.

The EPO has declared it is ready to begin issuing UPs when the UPC Agreement comes into effect. Nine of the minimum 13 states have ratified the UPC Agreement. Ratification by a tenth state, Bulgaria, is expected soon. A number of other states are expected to complete their ratification process after a Protocol on Privileges and Immunities is signed at the end of June. Of the three states that must ratify in order for the UPC Agreement to come into effect, France has already ratified, and steps necessary for ratification by Germany and the UK are well-advanced.

A vote by the UK not to leave the EU is likely to trigger a flurry of activity. Patent owners will need to decide whether to validate new patents granted by the EPO as UPs and whether to opt-out of the UPC for their new and existing, conventional European Patents. We will provide an update on these issues after the June 23rd vote.

For more information on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, visit our updated website, http://www.fr.com/services/patent-law/unitary-patent/.

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unitary patent and unified court

Blog Authors

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Herbert Kunz, Ph.D. | Principal

Dr. Herbert Kunz is the Managing Principal of Fish & Richardson’s Munich office.  Dr. Kunz is a European and German Patent Attorney with a particular focus in mechanics, electronics, software, and medical devices. In addition, Dr. Kunz is a qualified European Trademark and Design...

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John B. Pegram | Senior Principal

John B. Pegram is a Senior Principal based in Fish & Richardson’s New York office. He specializes in intellectual property litigation, licensing, opinion and counseling matters of all types. Pegram has successfully litigated cases in state and federal courts, and before the...

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John F. T. Conroy, Ph.D. | Principal

John Conroy is a Principal in Fish & Richardson’s Munich office. Dr. Conroy is an American patent lawyer and registered European Patent Attorney who has extensive experience helping clients with IP issues in Europe and the U.S.  His practice emphasizes patent prosecution...

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