The European Patent Office (EPO) and the participating countries are in the final stages of establishing the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The start of the new system is currently expected for the second half of 2022. This represents the biggest change to patent law in Europe for 50 years: it will create a single approach to patent registration and litigation across up to 24 European Member States, with a combined population of about 360 million. Your business needs to make sure you are prepared for the changes that this will entail.
The introduction of a single system will make establishing patent protection across Europe easier and more effective, facilitating the protection of innovations and inventions. It will also make it possible to challenge patents and to obtain rulings preventing the distribution of goods and the use of patented processes across all the participating Member States. If you’re operating in Europe and the protection and exploitation of intellectual property is an important concern, it’s crucial to understand what the impact of this new Unitary Patent system will involve and to factor that in to any existing or new patent strategy you may be developing for your European operations.
If you need support or want to review your existing strategy, we’re here to help. Within our existing international patent practice, we have created a specialist UPC team. Their role is to help you navigate the new landscape effectively, which will enable you to continue to protect your intellectual property in this new environment. We’re also based on the ground in every major jurisdiction where a division of the UPC will be located.
For any further information, please get in touch with your usual Bird & Bird contact or any member of our UPC team, found on this page, or follow us @twobirdsIP for breaking news and commentary.