EPO prepares for UPC start-up

The European Patent Office, EPO, has in the preparation for UPC made two new forms available on its website which enable, respectively, the possibility of submitting an early request for unitary effect and the possibility to request for a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent.

As it stands now, the UPC is scheduled to open its doors on 1 June 2023. In order to prepare for the UPC's start-up, the EPO has introduced two new measures. 

One measure makes it possible to apply for unitary effect already before the entry intro force of the UPC, so that the EPO can register the unitary protection immediately at the start of the UPC. 

The other measure makes it possible to request the EPO to delay the decision to grant the European patent. In doing so, an EP-applicant can ensure that its application is not granted before the entry into force of the UPC, which would mean that the application could not be converted into a unitary patent.

It is important to note that both measures only apply to European patent applications which have received a so-called "intention to grant" pursuant to EPC Rule 71(3). 

The forms can be submitted to the EPO from 1 January 2023. The EPO announced these measures earlier this year, and the EPO has thus chosen to maintain the start-date for these measures, 1 January 2023, although the entry into force of the UPC was delayed by two months, to 1 June 2023, earlier in December, and the so-called sunrise period, in which it is possible to file opt-out requests, starts on 1 March 2023. See more on the EPO's website

Latest news on IP Law

IP Law