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EPO to accept delays in requests for Unitary Patent registration to cover Romania

As previously reported, Romania has deposited its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement and will become a UPC member state on 1 September 2024.

If patent proprietors wish to obtain a Unitary Patent based on their granted European patent, then they have to file the relevant request and a translation of the entire application no later than one month after grant of the European patent. The Unitary Patent is then registered by the EPO. It will be appreciated that, if such a request is filed now, the resulting Unitary Patent will not cover Romania. Once registered, the territorial scope of the Unitary Patent is fixed, so that already registered Unitary Patents will not cover Romania, even after Romania has become a UPC member state.

To allow patent proprietors to nevertheless include Romania in the coverage of newly registered Unitary Patents, the EPO has started to accept request for delay of UP registration. The request for registration will still have to be filed by the deadline of one month after grant but can now include a request that the EPO delay UP registration on their side. Whilst Romania is not amongst the countries in which most European patents are traditionally validated in, extending patent coverage to this 19 million consumer market at the cost of a small delay in UP registration must surely make sense in all but the most urgent cases. The EPO is to be commended on their user friendly approach.

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upc, yes