EPO takes next major step towards the Unitary Patent – new forms publicly released
During the final pre-Christmas week, the European Patent Office (EPO) took the next major step in its preparation for the upcoming Unitary Patent.
Despite the latest postponement concerning the Unified Patent Court (UPC) by two months until June 1, 2023, the EPO has recently announced (see OJ 2022, A99-A110) that its transitional measures with respect to the upcoming Unitary Patent will still be available by January 1, 2023. Now, also the corresponding formal basics have been provided by the EPO.
In detail, the EPO released new Form 7000 concerning the (early) request for unitary effect as well as Forms 7037 and 7038 which concern subsequently submitted documents.
In addition thereto, new Form 2025 provides the option for a request to delay the issuance of the decision to grant a European Patent in the context of the communication pursuant to R. 71 (3) EPC and before applicant’s approval of the text intended for grant, which will represent the can opener for pending European Patent applications being in the final stage right before the UPC will finally open its doors and thereby also brings the Unitary Patent to life.
Moreover, Form 1003 (Authorisation) and Form 1004 (General authorisation) have been supplemented by corresponding checkboxes for extension of such authorisation to proceedings relating to the European Patent with unitary effect, like e.g. the filing of a request for unitary effect.
Finally, it should be kept in mind that such forms and requests (except for Forms 1003 and 1004) should not be filed before January 1, 2023, but only after the turn of the years. Thus, still some patience is needed.
Overall, the EPO’s newly released and updated forms illustrate and provide the framework on how to deal with the upcoming Unitary Patent during the EPO’s transitional period as well as after it has come into effect.
For interested ones, the respective forms are available on the EPO’s website via the following link: https://www.epo.org/applying/forms.html
by Markus Eustermann
(German & European Patent Attorney / EPLIT News Working Group)