The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent:
A Practitioner's Handbook
European patent law is undergoing the most significant changes since the establishment of the European Patent Office in 1973. The legislative foundations were established a decade ago but now, after overcoming all court challenges and other roadblocks, the Unified Patent Court has finally been established. The court is finalizing its preparations to hear patent disputes from early 2023 onwards on behalf of the 17 EU member states participating from the start. Once the UPC opens its doors, the European Patent Office can register newly granted European patents as having unitary effect in those 17 countries.
Practitioners may wish to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities this complex new system creates. We are therefore pleased to offer the second edition of our practitioner’s guide, originally published as the EU Patent Package Handbook in 2014.
This book is intended for those who want to obtain a systematic yet concise overview of what is relevant for navigating the new system. In addition to the updated and expanded summary (Part A) and detailed guide (Part C) of the 1st Edition, we have now included three chapters on strategic considerations for prosecution, opt-out, and litigation (Part B).
This handbook provides a fundamental understanding for practitioners, many of whom may face issues relating to the following:
- Registration as European Patents with Unitary Effect vs. national validation.
- How to strategically set up patent portfolios to best mitigate the risks/utilize the opportunities of the UPC.
- Using instruments such as opting out, EPO divisionals, and national applications to strengthen a patent portfolio.
- Enforcing and invalidating European patents at national courts or at the UPC.
- In general, when and where to pursue litigation in Europe.
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