What do I need to do in preparation for the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court?

Filing a mix of at least EPs, utility models in Germany and other European countries, national patents in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands (and any other significant countries) and UPs when available so as to provide varied methods of enforcement against infringers.

Reviewing portfolios so as to consider opting out of the system in respect of existing or future EP cases initially, to stay out of the system during a period of assessment, opting in later if it looks favourable.

Bringing forward freedom to operate searches in any product development plan, in order to identify UPs/EPs of concern well before product launch, so appropriate action (for example, revocation, declarations of non-infringement, and licence negotiations) can be taken.

Reviewing jurisdiction clauses and enforcement clauses in existing licence agreements and other agreements relating to the development and exploitation of IP in Europe, to ensure that they take account of the UPC structure.

Gaining an understanding of your competitors’ opting in/out strategy may provide you with an insight into their priorities and in turn inform your own strategies for dealing with your competitors. The portal to the database of opted out European patents will allow checking the opt in/out status of individual patents. Whilst it is not yet clear if it will also be possible to analyse entire portfolios of competitors in an easy manner, consideration to setting up patent watches should be given.

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