After decades of planning and several abortive attempts, the Unified Patent Court (a pan-European court) and the Unitary Patent (a single pan-European patent right) have now become a reality. The genesis of the new court and the new patent left many doubting the likelihood of success of this ambitious project for some time. Those voices gave way to serious discourse of the merits and demerits of the new systems some months ago and it feels safe to say that the patent profession as a whole looks forward to the first months of the operation of the UPC with bated breath.
Many concerns regarding the readiness of the UPC have been raised during the sunrise period from 1 March to 31 May 2023, not least in light of repeated downtime of the UPC server, changes to the API of the UPC CMS at very short notice and difficulty in obtaining answers from UPC support functions. Nevertheless, the UPC CMS servers have stood firm even in light of an intensive onslaught of opt-out requests filed in the last days and weeks of the sunrise period. The mitigating measures put in place by the UPC have clearly ensured the stability of the system – even to the extent that their operation felt more reliable in the last hours of the sunrise period than it did two weeks ago. We are pleased that, despite fears to the contrary and the odd bump in the road, things have gone relatively smoothly thus far. We look forward with excitement to observing the new system in operation and to playing an active part within it.