The start of the Unitary Patent System in Europe is approaching, which following the latest delay is set to launch on the 1 June 2023. Only patents which are granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) on or after this date are eligible for registration as a Unitary Patent (UP). To give more applicants the chance to register their patents as Unitary Patents (UP), the EPO will offer applicants an opportunity to delay the decision to grant in cases where the patent otherwise would have been granted before the start of the Unitary Patent System.
At the request of the applicant, the EPO will delay the decision to grant of a European patent application such that the patent is granted on or immediately after the start date of the Unitary Patent System, to allow the patent to be registered as a Unitary Patent (UP). Such a request may be filed as soon as the EPO has informed the applicant of the text intended for grant (i.e. the Rule 71(3) communication), but before this text has been approved by the applicant. This opportunity to delay the grant is available from the 1 January 2023 until the start date of the Unitary Patent System, when the measure no longer fulfills its purpose.
As of the 1 January 2023, applicants who have received the text intended for grant will also be given an opportunity to submit an early request to register the patent as a Unitary Patent (UP). This will ensure that the patent is registered as a Unitary Patent as soon as the new system starts.
Please contact one of our patent attorneys for further advice.