Boult Wade Tennant
UPC » The Unitary Patent is coming

The European Unitary Patent is slowly entering the home straight. The Federal Constitutional Court in Germany rejected the constitutional complaint against the Approval Act, and the Approval Act was passed by the German Bundestag with the required two-thirds majority at the second attempt. Consequently, in September, Germany ratified the Protocol on the Provisional Application of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. It is expected that with one further ratification of this Protocol by another country, the minimum number of countries will soon be reached and the preparation for the establishment of the UPC can enter the final stages. In addition to the technical preparations, it will also be necessary to clarify where the branch seat of the UPC, which was previously planned to be in London, should now be located.

The final process of entry into force is to be initiated by the purely formal ratification of the UPC Agreement by Germany only when it is clear that the preparations for the establishment of the UPC have been completed. The entry into force of the UPC Agreement is set for the first day of the fourth month after the necessary ratifications. Only Germany’s ratification is still missing, so it is ultimately in the hands of Germany to finally trigger the entry into force.

Despite the remaining imponderables, it is expected that the UPC Agreement will finally enter into force in late 2022 or early 2023 with an operational UPC. This will mark the end of a process that has lasted almost 50 years. It will then be possible to validate a European patent as a Unitary Patent across the majority of the EU, if desired.

We will keep you informed about the practical significance of the Unitary Patent and the UPC for patent applicants and owners. In particular, we will inform you about the strategic advantages and disadvantages of “opting-out” existing patents from the jurisdiction of the new UPC – such opt-outs will be possible during a transitional period before entry into force of the UPC Agreement.

Relevant sectors
Food and beverage
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Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Consumer goods and retail
  • Anti-counterfeit devices
  • Moda
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Trade marks
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Industrial manufacturing and processing
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  • Printing tech
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Coatings
  • Construction
Electronics and electrical devices
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Travel and leisure
  • Testing systems, control systems, signal processing
  • Computer and IT architecture and system design
  • Medical devices
  • Optics
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  • Scientific instruments
  • Semiconductor devices
  • Wearable tech and human interfaces
Communications and networks
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  • Internet of things (IOT)
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Energy and green technologies
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  • Water, oil and gas, nuclear, fusion, fission
  • Clean air
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  • Biofuels
  • Autonomous vehicles
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  • Engines
  • Commercial aviation
  • Defence and security
  • Space and satellites
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Pharmaceuticalsceutical formulations
  • Diagnostics
  • Drug delivery
  • Generic market entry
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Methods of production and synthesis
  • Personalised medicine/disease biomarkers
  • Pharmaceutical formulations
  • Polymorphs
  • Small molecule pharmaceuticals
  • Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs)
  • Bioinformatics
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Women’s health products
  • Vaccinology (e.g. viral vectors; mRNA vaccines)
  • Therapeutic antibodies
  • Synthetic biology
  • Stem cell therapies
  • Recombinant protein production and purification
  • Personalised medicine/disease biomarkers
  • Nucleic acid synthesis
  • Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs)
  • Immuno-oncology (e.g. checkpoint inhibitors; modified T cells)
  • GM crops
  • Genomic and molecular tools and methods
  • Gene editing (e.g. CRISPR)
  • Drug delivery
  • Biosimilars
  • Antibody manufacture and formulation
  • Antibody engineering
Medical devices and diagnostics 
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  • Artificial intelligence
  • Devices
  • Diagnostic instruments
  • Digital health
  • Drug delivery
  • In vitro diagnostics
  • Medtech
Computing and software
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  • Multimedia, audio/video processing and animation
  • Metaverse, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
  • Data management and storage, databases and data compression
  • Data and software security, cryptography and digital rights management (DRM)
  • Software applications and systems, mobile applications, user interfaces
  • Natural language processing
  • Search engines
  • Robotic process automation
  • Quantum computing
  • Motor capture
  • Machine vision
  • Fintech and adtech
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  • Communications and networks
  • Blockchain and distributed ledgers
  • Bioinformatics
  • Signal processing
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning