German ratification signals UPC countdown
After the Ministry of Justice deposited its ratification today, February 17, the UPC can open on June 1
The German government deposited its instrument of ratification on the Unified Patent Court today, February 17, officially starting the countdown to the court becoming a reality.
Today’s news means the UPC will enter into operation on June 1 2023. A three-month sunrise period, during which patent owners can opt their patents in or out, will begin on March 1.
The sunrise period could not have started until Germany had deposited its ratification.
The UPC had originally been scheduled to start on April 1, with the sunrise launching before on January 1, but problems with the court’s case management system led to a delay.
In November, Managing IP reported that Germany’s Ministry of Justice was supporting the UPC while it attempted to address those concerns, and that the start date was under review.
Shortly after that announcement, the UPC organising committee revealed that the proposed start date had been pushed back to June 1 with the sunrise opening on March 1.
In a statement today, the EPO, which will administer unitary patents, said all necessary ratification procedures by the participating EU member states had now been completed.
EPO president António Campinos said the move opens the door for a new era of IP protection in Europe.
“Under the unitary patent system, European businesses will be able to benefit from broader and more effective patent protection at lower costs, which is particularly important for smaller entities.”
There are currently 17 member states in the UPC Agreement but more could join in the future.