The language regime for the Unitary Patent and the divisions of the UPC
As we have written before the creation and start of the Unified Patent Court will change the mindset of patent litigation in Europe fundamentally. However, Europe is a diverse continent, not the least when it comes to languages. With the European Patent Office (EPO), French, German and English have since long been established as language of proceedings, i.e. the language which the patent will be granted in. The language regime for the Unitary Patent should now also be considered. Within 1 month of the publication of the mention of grant the request for the Patent with Unitary effect must be filed.
If your patent is granted in English, a translation of the entire specification into any of the languages of the Contracting member states must also be filed at this time. If the patent is granted in French or German the translation must instead be filed in English. This translation should be man-made during a transitional period of 7 years, after which period this translation requirement will probably be abolished. The cost of preparing a translation should therefore be considered. As general advice, if the patent was originally filed in e.g. Danish, this text could be used for the translation. Otherwise if the text is only in English, a translation into German or French is probably the best alternative, as the patent claims will still have to be translated for the purpose of grant.
The language regime of the Unified Patent Court is also an important aspect, as for instance any actions for revocation must be filed in the language in which the patent was granted, and the claim must be filed with the central division of the Court. This means that if the patent was granted in German, a revocation action must be filed in German, even though it is filed with the Central Division in Paris or London. Infringement actions may be filed in the language of the specific division where the claim is filed. Hence, an infringement action filed with the Nordic Baltic regional division in Stockholm must be filed in English. Setting a strategy for the language of proceedings with the EPO (i.e. English, German or French) must be thus be done now, before filing any new patent applications.
Sofia Willquist, European Patent Attorney