A New Era in European Patent Law
As every European patent attorney knows, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) comes into force today (1st June 2023) effectively launching the Unitary Patent System. Some fifty years in the making, the UPC offers users a cost-effective option for patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe.
The UPC is a new supranational court that will deal with infringement (including pan European injunctions) and validity of both Unitary Patents and ‘conventional’ European Patents, thereby reducing the need for costly parallel European litigation and providing legal certainty. Not only will the court allow proprietors of Unified Patents and conventional European patents to enforce their rights in all EU Member States that have ratified the UPC agreement, but it will also enable third parties to challenge and potentially revoke patents centrally across these states.
To date, 17 member states have joined the UPC, notable exceptions being the UK, Spain, and Norway. This means that for a European patent validated in the UK, only the UK courts can deal with infringement and (after the European opposition period expires) validity actions.
The introduction of the UPC adds a new dimension to European patent litigation with the interplay between the European Patent Office, the UPC and the national courts. Patentees and third parties need to consider each of these options carefully in developing their IP strategies, either from a defensive or an offensive viewpoint.
If you are interested in finding out more about the UPC, then get in touch through our Assimilate IP website. And why not join us on our “IP Essentials for Start Ups and SMEs” training webinar on 8 June where we’ll be discussing developing your IP Strategy, Protecting your IP rights, Freedom to Operate and much, much more