We recently communicated to you news of the Unitary Patent system and how this may affect your European Patent portfolio.

It has now been confirmed that the start of operations of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) can be expected to occur in early 2023. This was announced on the website of the UPC on 14 July 2022.

We have outlined the benefits of the new system, and what the considerations and actions are in our full article.

What does this mean for Middle East-based patent filers?

You should consider the option of opting out any European applications and patents before the UPC comes into force. European applications and patents which are not opted out will become part of the new UPC system by default and open to central revocation attacks under the UPC.

What should you be doing?

  • Review your European patent portfolio
  • Determine which patents should be opted out of the UPC, and which (if any) should be left to opt in. This is likely to involve a multi-factorial analysis, e.g. how important is the patent? What are the lifetime costs of maintaining the patent in force?
  • If interested in obtaining a Unitary Patent, consider slowing examination of a pending European application until the Unitary Patent comes into force, and/or filing a divisional application
  • Review licence agreements and discuss with any co-owners the implications of opting in
  • Consider that some agreements may need to be updated to provide control over the opt-out procedure

To find out more about the next steps for patent filers in the Middle-East, read our full article.