On February 17, 2023, the Federal Republic of Germany ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC), thus finally setting in motion the entry into force of the UPC on June 1, 2023. The long-awaited Unified Patent Court can thus begin its work on June 1, 2023.
With the entry into force of the unitary patent, patentees of newly granted European patents will in future have the possibility to validate, enforce and defend these patents as patents with unitary effect within the scope of a single validation in the 17 member states of the European Union currently participating in the UPC agreement. For such European patents with unitary effect, the new Unified Patent Court will have exclusive jurisdiction to decide on related infringement and revocation actions.
Actions arising from and against previously and future granted European patents which have not been or will not be validated with unitary effect may also regularly fall within the jurisdiction of the new Unified Patent Court. This can be avoided by filing a so-called "opt-out" request in due time, by which European patents which have not been validated with unitary effect can be withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court.
Opt-Out requests can be filed in a designated time window, the so-called "Sunrise Period", already before the entry into force of the UPCA, as well as at any time after the entry into force of the UPCA, as long as no proceedings against the respective EP patent are pending before the Unified Patent Court. The sunrise period starts on March 1, 2023 and ends with the entry into force of the UPCA.
We would be pleased to advise you on the possibilities and risks in connection with the entry into force of the UPCA and, if required, to file an opt-out request for your European patents.
Your team at Tautz & Schuhmacher