Fee related amendments before the EPO and decision of EU Commission on full ban on patents for NGT plants

The EU Parliament approved the EU Commission’s proposals for new rules on plants obtained through ‚New Genomic Techniques‘ (NGTs) on February 7, 2024. The key aspects of the proposals can be summarized as follows: Accordingly, it is proposed to introduce two Articles (Article 4a and Art 33a) into Biotech Patent Directive 98/44/EC and the EU will start negotiations with the member states on the final law.  However, it should be noted that the proposed amendments are not yet harmonized with the European Patent Convention.  In more detail, according to the established case law of the Boards of Appeal (see for example the decision G 3/19 (“Pepper”)) the term „plant varieties […]

Important new developments related to Patents in Europe

Although with some delay, Germany has finally announced in a statement of the federal Ministry of Justice that it has ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The specific date on which the UPC will start is defined by the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the German instrument of ratification and, thus, the UPC will enter into force on June 1, 2023. The sunrise period for opting-out will be initiated on March 1, 2023, which will offer applicants and patentees before the EPO the opportunity to exclude the UPC’s competence for possible revocation actions and align these competences solely to the national courts. Furthermore, […]

UPC announces further postponement of its launch

Although the UPC repeatedly confirmed until November 2022 that the launch date of the UPC, which was scheduled to open its doors on April 1, 2023, would be maintained, a recent statement published on the official UPC website announced that the beginning of the “sunrise period” and, therefore, the launch of the UPC will be -once more- postponed for another two months to March 1 and June 1, 2023, respectively. The reasons for the further delay were explained to be linked to the high number of complaints from professional representatives all over Europe, who struggled to implement the requirements for the new strong authentication identification requirement which will be fundamental […]

Important decisions prior to the launch of the Unitary Patent system

After many years, starting with the EU regulations establishing the Unitary Patent system of January 20, 2013, the UPC Agreement is expected to enter into force in the last quarter of 2022 or early in 2023. The specific date on which the UPC will start is defined by the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the German instrument of ratification. Currently, this date is delayed by the Administrative, Budget and Advisory Committee due to ongoing preparations for the upcoming launch like the appointment of candidates for the positions as judges of the new Courts. However, applicants and patentees before the EPO should already make plans prior […]

Upcoming new regulations in german patent law

With the new Second German Patent Law Modernization Act and a Further German Act on Duties of the GPTO and to Revise the Patent Costs Act which have been promulgated in August and September 2021, respectively, and which have effectively entered into force, several important changes of regulations will take place, of which we should like to summarize the most important ones: I. Oral Proceedings as videoconferences (effective: May 1, 2022) Based on the Second German Patent Law Modernization Act and in congruence with Section 128a of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO), the possibility to participate in Oral Hearings as well as the option to give evidence by […]