1 January 2023: Transitional measures introduced at the EPO to support the introduction of the Unitary Patent
As of 1 January 2023, the EPO introduced two separate transitional procedures to support the introduction of Unitary Patents. The Unitary Patent (sometimes referred to as a European patent with unitary effect) will cover 17 countries initially and potentially offer cost and administrative savings for applicants in comparison with the existing process of validating granted European patents separately in individual member states. Nevertheless, conventional validation routes will also remain open after the new system comes into effect, both for those countries which will be covered by Unitary Patents and those which will not.
The EPO’s transitional measures look to improve access to Unitary Patents for applicants with currently pending applications. In general, a Unitary Patent is only available for those applications which grant after the formal introduction of the system. This is anticipated to occur on 1 June 2023, so the first transitional measure allows applicants to request a delay to grant in order that it occurs after this date. This request must be made before responding to the Notice of Intention to Grant the application issued by the EPO. Read more