The Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court: Good things may finally be coming to those who have waited

July 20, 2021

Deadlock in the introduction of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court appears to be shifting.

Progress on the long anticipated, but long delayed Unified Patent Court (UPC) recently took a major step forward, with the German Constitutional Court rejecting two applications for preliminary injunctions against German ratification of the necessary treaty.

With this road block now removed, the way appears open for German ratification, and with it, the likely introduction of the related Unitary Patent (UP).

At present it is necessary for a patentee to “validate” a European patent in each different EU member state that the patentee wishes to obtain protection in, following grant of a European patent. If the Unitary Patent is introduced, it will be possible for a patentee to make a single request to the European Patent Office post grant to obtain protection across multiple participating EU member states. This may provide a significant reduction in costs to a patentee who wishes to obtain protection across a large number of EU states. The existing validation system would continue to remain in force.

There are no dates available as yet, while progress towards the UP and UPC has previously involved multiple false-dawns and setbacks (such as the UK’s ratification & subsequent withdrawal of ratification, post Brexit).

However, German ratification remains a key milestone. With this now looking likely, progress appears to be being made.

Considering previous progress, despite this positive news, it seems unlikely that the UP and UPC will come into force this year. Maybe, just maybe though, 2022 may finally be the year of the UP and UPC.