The 'Sunrise' period for the 'Unified Patent Court' (UPC) started today (March 1, 2023) and runs until June 1, 2023. During this period you can submit opt-outs for your existing European patents and delay the grant of your European patent applications.
From June 1, after the 'Sunrise' period has ended, you can select a new type of European patent in addition to the existing European 'bundle' of national patent rights; the Unitary Patent. The unitary patent is a European patent that, after grant, is valid in a large part of the European Union. You can select for the 'bundle', the unitary patent or a combination thereof.
If your European patent application is about to be granted, you can postpone the grant during the 'Sunrise' period until the end of the 'Sunrise' period, so that you can select the Unitary patent after June 1, 2023.
In addition, it is advisable to carefully consider before June 1, 2023, whether you want your existing (already granted) European patents to fall under the central court (the 'Unified Patent Court' or UPC), which will open its doors on June 1, 2023. You can indicate that you do not want your European patents to fall under the UPC by submitting an 'opt-out'. Existing European patents for which no opt-out has been submitted are automatically 'opted-in' and will therefore fall under the UPC from 1 June 2023. It is also possible to submit an 'opt-out' after 1 June 2023. However, it is theoretically possible that a third party will immediately start a lawsuit against your European patent on 1 June 2023. From that moment on it is no longer possible to opt-out.
For the considerations that go with these decisions please consult our detailed brochure about the Unitary patent.