In 2013, 24 European countries signed the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA), and on June 1st, 2023, 17 States ratified it. (The seven remaining Member States may ratify it at any time.)
The United Patent Court (UPC) is an international court, established by participating European Union (EU) Member States, that handles infringement and validity issues related to both Unitary Patents and European patents.
With the Unitary Patent (UP), the European Patent Office (EPO) provides uniform protection in up to 17 Member States under the ratified UPCA, allowing patent holders with an approved European patent to avoid extra fees.
This newly launched patent system complements existing patent pathways, providing an added option next to national and traditional European patents.
Although the purpose of the UPC is to simplify the process of protecting European patents, aiming to minimize costly litigation, there are still risks involved.
For example, if a lawsuit is unsuccessful, the patent holder might lose their patent rights across a majority of the EU due to that single litigation. Recognizing this risk, Article 83(3) of the UPCA allows applicants and owners of the traditional European patent the choice to “opt-out” of their application or patent from the court’s exclusive jurisdiction during the transition period. This period can be extended for an additional seven years, offering additional flexibility and safety to patent holders.
Status of the UPC in Patsnap
Understanding the legal jurisdiction of a patent is crucial for due diligence in innovation-driven patent research. To simplify this, Patsnap extracts and processes the “status of Unified Patent Court” field, which includes indicators such as “Opt-out registered,” “Opt out not registered,” “Withdrawal after opt-out,” and “Positive decision after unitary effect request.”
This enables users to swiftly discern whether a European patent falls under the exclusive domain of the UPC, is governed only by national courts, or has dual jurisdiction. For real-time insights, users can activate email alerts specific to this field, ensuring they’re always informed about European patent updates.
Impact on Legal Data of European Patent Member States
Patsnap performed deep processing of the European Patent Member States, enabling users to quickly access up-to-date legal statuses and supplementary protection certificate (SPC) information across 44 jurisdictions.
Importantly, European patents with unitary effects influence European Patent Member States. As such, states adopting the unitary effect validation are distinctly marked, differentiating them from countries using the traditional validation method.
As the new UPC system unfolds, bringing with it complex nuances, access to accurate, up-to-date patent data is important important than ever.
To learn more about Patsnap, and how it enables users to extract relevant insights, make informed decisions, and accelerate innovation, visit patsnap.com or request a demo with one of our innovation specialists.
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