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Welcome to today’s IP Quick Tip about unitary patents.

According to the currently expected timeline, the first unitary patents may be granted already by the end of this year.

But what do you need to do to get a Unitary Patent?

Well, first you need a regular European patent application at the EPO.

Then, within one month after grant, you need to file a request for unitary effect such that the granted patent becomes a unitary patent that can be asserted in all member states of the unitary patent system with a single complaint.

If you don’t file this request, you will simply end up with a classical European bundle patent that needs to be validated and asserted in each country separately.

Now, how is the timeline exactly?

Once Germany finalizes the ratification process of the unitary patent system, which is expected around mid-2022, the so-called sunrise period will start and last for about four months.

For all patents granted after the sunrise period, unitary effect may then be requested.

The EPO has already ensured measures that will allow applicants to delay grant until after the sunrise period.

And it will also be possible to request unitary effect already during the sunrise period for applications that are close to grant.

So, the relevant decisions need to be made soon.