Boult Wade Tennant
UPC » Extension of UPC to Romania from 1 September 2024

The Unitary Patent system entered into force on 1 June 2023. In the first year, the European Patent Office received 28450 requests for unitary effect and registered nearly 27700 Unitary Patents. Since the beginning of 2024 almost one in four European Patents has been converted into a Unitary Patent with a large proportion of the users of the Unitary patent being European companies.

Romania will join the Unitary Patent system with effect from 1 September 2024. This is the first territorial extension of the Unitary Patent. The addition of Romania increases the number of EU Member States in the Unitary Patent system to 18 and adds a market of 19 million people to the coverage of a Unitary Patent. In addition, the renewal fees for Unitary Patents will remain the same as at present and therefore the extra territorial scope will be obtained with no increase in official fees.

The territorial scope of each Unitary Patent remains the same throughout its lifetime. Therefore, it is necessary to register a Unitary Patent on or after 1 September 2024 in order to benefit from the increased territorial scope covering Romania. In order to allow Unitary Patent users to benefit from the increased territorial scope, the European Patent Office will accept requests for a delay of the registration of unitary effect until Romania’s ratification of the Unitary Patent Court Agreement takes effect.

One consideration is that the Unitary Patent Court may invalidate a Unitary Patent based on earlier national rights. Therefore, when delaying the registration of a Unitary Patent, applicants should take advice as to whether there are Romanian national rights which could be relevant.

Users of the Unitary Patent system now wait to hear news of when further states will ratify. A referendum in Ireland on whether to join the Unitary Patent has been postponed from June and a new date is awaited.

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