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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

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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.

Read information on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court here.


The opinions expressed are those of the authors on the date noted above and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fish & Richardson P.C., any other of its lawyers, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This post is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed.

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Herbert Kunz, Ph.D. | Principal

Herbert Kunz, Ph.D., is a principal in the Munich office of Fish & Richardson P.C.  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 attorney, and also represents...

John Pegram | Intellectual Property Attorney
John B. Pegram | Of Counsel

John B. Pegram is of counsel in the New York office of Fish & Richardson P.C. He specializes in intellectual property litigation, licensing, opinion and counseling matters of all types. John has successfully litigated cases in state and U.S. district courts, and before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. He also is...

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

John Conroy, Ph.D., is a principal in the Munich office of Fish & Richardson P.C. Dr. Conroy, a patent attorney registered to practice before both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office, has extensive experience helping...