The biggest change for decades in the grant and enforcement of patents in Europe has been in the making for a number of years, with the planned introduction of a new European patent system.

The new system is set to revolve around two new features: the Unitary Patent (UP) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UP is proposed as a single patent right covering most of the EU as an alternative to conventional European Patents (EPs). The UPC is proposed to act as a single litigation forum for disputes involving not only UPs but also EPs.

Many EU countries have ratified the UPC Agreement, although following Brexit, the UK government stated that it would no longer be seeking membership of the UPC after initially ratifying.

Following a number of challenges in Germany, in July 2021 the German Federal Constitutional Court dismissed the latest challenges to pave the way for Germany’s ratification of the UPC.

The UPC Agreement may well need to be re-negotiated following the UK’s decision not to participate in the UPC, and it is yet to be seen how this will be done, along with how long it will take. However, it now seems that the UPC could start operating as soon as the second half of 2022.

Dehns will continue to monitor all UPC developments and will update clients as and when appropriate. For further information please contact us on:

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