The European Unitary Patent and and Unified Patent Court recently took an important step forward, which could mean the long-envisioned system has a chance of being operational by the end of 2022.

An agreement has entered into force that means various tecnnical preparations and logistics can start to establish the new system.

Once everything is set up, the German government will give its final go-ahead.

The whole legal package will then become operational within three or four months of that go-ahead. During that transition period, applicants will be able to make early requests for their European Patents to have “unitary effect”.

So we will have to be patient for bit longer, but the new system is getting closer!

With this in mind, there are some actions to consider for your European Patent portfolio.

In the future the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will have exclusive jurisdiction over both Unitary Patents and “classical” European Patents.  However, for a period of time it is possible to “opt out” of this court system for “classical” European Patents.  The opt-out will be available for an initial period of seven years, but this may be extended once by a further seven years.

Being under the jurisdication of the UPC means that a central action for infringement or validity will have effect for all relevant countries. This makes it attractive for enforcement, but on the other hand brings a larger risk if your patents are attacked.

  • So, deciding whether to opt out or not requires careful consideration.
  • You should also start preparing for the upcoming option to make early requests for unitary effect, so reviewing cases that are close to acceptance or have recently been accepted would be a good idea.

There are many factors involved in making your decisions and of course our attorneys would be happy to advise further.




At Scintilla, we help innovative companies get a grip on their intellectual property. Our unique commercial approach combines registration of patents and trade marks with strategic input so that IP can be a springboard for business growth. If you would like to discuss your IP needs, do contact us or book a free initial consultation!