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Romania to join the Unitary Patent system – EPO provides delay mechanism for Unitary Patent registration

21/06/2024

Romania recently ratified the UPC Agreement, and it has been confirmed that Romania will join the Unitary Patent system on 1 September 2024.

This means that Unitary Patents for which unitary effect is registered after 1 September 2024 will automatically cover 18 countries, including Romania. Unitary Patents will thus cover markets which are home to well over 300 million people.

The territorial scope of Unitary Patents is determined by the participating member states at the time of registration. Thus, the territorial scope of Unitary Patents registered before 1 September 2024 will not extend to cover Romania.

EPO delay mechanism for Unitary Patent registration

To allow Applicants and Proprietors to benefit from the extension of the Unitary Patent system to Romania, the EPO permits users to request a delay of the registration of unitary effect.  The request must be filed together with the request for unitary effect, and will mean that the unitary effect will not be registered until shortly after 1 September 2024.

The request for unitary effect, and request for delay, must be filed no later than one month after publication of the mention of grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin, as for any other Unitary Patent.

Unitary Patent system and Unitary Patent Court – 1 year on

Since the coming into force of the UPC agreement on 1 June 2023, the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) has proven attractive to litigants (read more here), with a range of interesting developments already taking place over the first year.

The Unitary Patent system has also seen fairly high take up, with over 27.500 Unitary Patents being registered by the EPO in the first year.  So far in 2024, almost one in four European Patents has been registered as a Unitary Patent.

With Romania joining, the reach of the UPC and the Unitary Patent is only growing. 

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

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