On 17 February 2023, Germany ratified the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC), paving the way for its entry into force.
Starting on June 1, 2023, unitary patent protection will be available in Europe, with disputes to be decided by a Unified Patent Court (UPC) with direct effect for all participating member states, both for traditional “bundle” European patents (EP) and for new European patents with unitary effect (UP).
The court will centrally decide patent disputes for 17 important EU member states, including Italy where a local division of the new UPC court will be located in Milan.
Simultaneously with the UPC, also the European patent with unitary effect, or as it is more commonly known, the “Unitary Patent” (UP), will be established, providing unitary protection for technical inventions covering all member states participating to the agreement.
The new UP/UPC system represents the most significant reform in the history of the European patent system since 1973.
How this reform will impact the patent system and in general the European economic system is still to be discovered. Meanwhile, the requests received so far by the EPO for early recognition of unitary effect and/or delayed grant for unitary effect purposes amount to over 2,200.