As Germany is about to file its instrument of ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Jurisdiction (AJUB), we can expect the implementation of the unitary patent at the end of 2022, early 2023. The obtaining of such a patent will then be possible upon request within 1 month after the publication of the grant notice by the EPO.
If in the next few months the EPO informs you that it is ready to grant a European patent by means of a notification under rule 71(3) EPC, it may be appropriate to consider the possibility of obtaining the grant of a unitary patent.
Indeed, the EPO has provided for an early application for unitary effect and a request for postponement of the decision to grant a European patent to allow applicants to anticipate the implementation of the unitary patent. Although these two provisions will only enter into force after Germany has filed its instrument of ratification of the AJUB, it is nevertheless already possible to extend the time limit for the examination of your application in order to benefit from these provisions, either :
- by making a minor correction to the text that the EPO proposes to grant (Druckexemplar), these modifications can, for example, be the deletion of a comma, the addition or amendment of a reference in the set of claims or the description, such minor amendments making it possible to save 5 to 6 additional months of examination of the patent application
- respond to the notification according to Rule 71(3) EPC with up to 2 months’ delay on the basis of the continuation of the procedure, which allows, upon payment of the related fee, to gain 2 additional months.
In case you are concerned and interested in obtaining a unitary patent, Brandon IP will be able to find with you the best solution adapted to your European patent application and to your strategy.