UPC opt-outs, UPC proceedings and Unitary Patents Update
The Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent system are now up and running. Our Attorney, Gurpreet Solanki provides an update on how matters are progressing:
As of the end of June 2023, 535,152 patents and applications have been opted-out of the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court.
Looking at the first International Patent Classification of each opted-out patent or application, the IPC covering preparations for medical purposes, A61K, took the prize for first place with 22,810 cases. Second, third and fourth places go to computing and communications fields.
These statistics are as expected, since the life sciences industry are cautious about the risk of central revocation at the UPC.
As of the end of July 2023, of all of the UPC proceedings made public so far, only 4 seek revocation of a European patent while 22 are infringement actions.
Surprisingly, life sciences cases are taking the lead in infringement cases with 8 infringement actions being filed, whilst in the hi-tech cases only 5 have been filed.
Equally surprisingly, 3 of the revocation actions are in the life sciences sector with Sanofi-Aventis filing a revocation action against Amgen patent EP 3 666 797. Astellas filed two revocation actions against patents owned by Japanese based Healios/Riken/Osaka University, and Healios/Osaka University. EP 3 056 563 and EP 3 056 564 cover eye-restoration technology.
Most other actions seem to relate to existing disputes between the parties, such as the recently-settled one between Ocado and Autostore relating to robot-assisted automation systems for warehouses. To date, proceedings have been initiated in 9 different divisions of the UPC, with most actions initiated in a German division. No known proceedings have been continued in the Paris central division or the remaining 6 local divisions in Brussels, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Mannheim, and Vienna.
Unitary Patents Update
The European Patent Office has also launched its Unitary Patent dashboard which gives daily updates on metrics including the number, status, timing and general technical field related to requests for unitary effect. This dashboard shows the location of patent proprietors; the status and evolution of their requests for unitary effect; the technology sector to which their patents relate; as well as the language in which their European patents were published and subsequently translated.
As of writing, from the dashboard, the total number of requests for unitary effect is 6431 with 6031 of those requests having been registered.
- The subject-matter classes with the most unitary effect requests so far include infrastructure & mechanics (20.9%), materials & production (19.6 %), and health (19.0%).
- The subject-matter classes with the fewest unitary effect requests so far include digital (11%), mobility & space technologies (8.8%), energy (6.5%), and agri-food (2.8%).
- German origination proprietors filed the highest number of requests for unitary effect.
If you have any UPC or Unitary Patent related queries, please contact us here.
Data used in this article are correct up to 10th August 2023 unless indicated otherwise.