The Unitary Patent System
On behalf of the Litigation Committee (K. Finnilä)
According to an announcement on 5 December 2022 on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) website the start date of the UPC will be postponed to 1 June 2023 with the three-month sunrise period commencing on 1 March 2023. The main reason is that “The additional time is intended to allow future users to prepare themselves for the strong authentication which will be required to access the Case Management System (CMS) and to sign documents.”
Despite this postponement, the EPO will allow for early request for unitary effect and request for a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent as of 1 January 2023.
More details can be found on the new web site of the UPC - https://www.unified-patent-court.org/en - launched in November 2022. The new website contains detailed information on the Court and related documentation. The web site is also updated in relation to the CMS concerning the “opt-out” and the “registration as a representative before the UPC” with information on providers holding certificates that meet the requirements of the UPC.
The UPC Administrative Committee (AC) held its third meeting on 19 October 2022, where Kim Finnilä and Triona Walshe represented epi as observers. At this meeting the main issues were the preparations for launching the UPC including recruitments, training and HR issues. The agreement on data exchange between the EPO and UPC was also mentioned. More on this on the UPC web site under “news”.
As a follow-up on the UPC AC meeting the Litigation Committee established a regular contact with the UPC IT Team. A third meeting was held on 16 December 2022. The epi representatives mainly include the members of the UPC Advisory Group. The aim is to improve the situation for future users of the CMS.
In this connection the Litigation Committee in close cooperation with the OCC also set up a “Forum for sharing UPC CMS experiences and solutions” (kindly see announcement on the epi website and the relevant section on the forum for epi members). All epi members have been informed by email. The discussions in the Forum are monitored and analysed by three OCC members Oana Boncea, Tassilo Meindl and Ronny Vavrin, who also are invited to the epi-UPC IT Team meetings.