HomeInsightsUnified Patent Court (UPC) delays start of Sunrise Period by two months

The UPC has decided to delay the start of the Sunrise Period for the Unitary Patent System for two months. The initial roadmap foresaw 1 January 2023 as the beginning of the Sunrise Period with entry into force of the UPC Agreement on 1 April 2023. The UPC now says that additional time is needed to allow users to prepare for strong authentication, which will be required to access the Case Management System (CMS) and to sign documents.

To use the UPC service, users will need both client authentication and a qualified electronic signature. Further details on authentication are available on the UPC website, including a list of providers who meet the required technical standards. This is an open-ended list, which will be amended as additional providers join. The UPC says that the initial timeline was insufficient to allow users to find a provider and obtain the required authentication tools. Therefore, the Sunrise Period will now start on 1 March 2023 followed by entry into force of the UPC Agreement on 1 June 2023.

The UPC says that all other preparatory work is on track and it expects no further delay to the start of the UPC beyond 1 June 2023. Secondary legislation, e.g. the UPC Rules of Procedure, has been adopted; judges of the UPC have been appointed; the Presidium has been formed; and the Presidents of both the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance have been elected and have assumed office. Further, the Presidium of the UPC has concluded interviews for the position of Registrar and Deputy Registrar and they will be in place in time for the start of the Sunrise period on 1 March 2023. The training of UPC judges and clerks is under way. Accordingly, no amendments to the roadmap are needed in these areas.

The European Patent Office has confirmed that, despite this delay, the start of its transitional measures remains 1 January 2023. From that date, patent applicants will be able file with the EPO early requests for unitary effect and requests for a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent. The measures are applicable until the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent Protection system which, as mentioned above, is now 1 June 2023. For further information on the UPC, click here. To read the EPO’s announcement, click here.