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EPO calls for speedy implementation of the Unitary Patent package

17/01/2020

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United Kingdom

António Campinos, President of the European Patent Office (EPO), together with representatives from member states, are calling for the speedy implementation of the Unitary Patent package with a view to it becoming operational by the end of 2020.  Mr Campinos and his team met on 10 January 2020 with the chair and members of the executive group of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Preparatory Committee, together with the chair of the Unitary Patent Select Committee to take stock of the current state of play. (See EPO press release for further details).

The meeting arose after Justice Huber of the German Federal Constitutional Court, the judge in charge of the constitutional challenge to the German ratification of the UPC Agreement (UPCA), indicated in an interview in December 2019 that it was the intention of the German court to render a decision in the first quarter of 2020.

At the meeting the EPO made it clear that it was ready to register the first Unitary Patents and that the Preparatory Committee has advanced its work as far as possible, although there is still work to be done. According to the press release Mr Campinos said: "We are confident that the necessary steps can be accomplished in time for the Unitary Patent package to become operational at the end of 2020." 

The chairs of the two committees, Alexander Ramsay and Jérôme Debrulle, added: "We are all waiting for this reform, which is the most significant one since the creation of the European patent system almost 50 years ago, to finally become a reality. Our users - and in particular SMEs - will strongly benefit from it because it will make Europe more competitive in relation to the United States and Asia."

For a quick re-cap about the Unitary Patent and UPCA, see our most recent blog in November 2019. Since then there has been the General Election in the UK on 13 December 2019, which gave the Conservative Party a substantial majority. As a result, the UK is expected to leave the EU at 11.00 pm (UK time) on 31 January 2020 (exit day). Questions remain as to what this will mean for the UK's future role in the UPCA, as discussed in our earlier blog. 

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