After 13 countries have ratified the UPC Agreement a sunrise period of a minimum of 3 months will start during which patent owners can opt out and keep their granted European patents, pending European patent applications and supplementary protection certificates outside the exclusive competence of the UPC. There will be a seven-year transition period during which a patent owner can opt out at any moment. However, at any time third parties may bring revocation proceedings before the UPC which may decide that a European patent will be revoked in respect of all participating countries. Once, an action has commenced in the UPC the patent owner can no longer opt out. Further, if a patentee opts out he will not be able to initiate infringement proceedings before the UPC. However, the patent owner can subsequently opt in if he wants to initiate a central infringement action before the UPC at a later stage. If your company does not wish to be among the first to be subjected to the untested UPC, opting out would be a sensible approach.
Your company should review its portfolio of European patent rights and decide in respect of which patent rights you wish to opt out. To avoid the risk of central revocation proceedings it is advisable to register opt-outs during the sunrise period.
Opt-out requests have to be authorized by all patent owners. Therefore, your company should check ownership of its patents because incorrect ownership details may invalidate opt-out requests. There will be no official fees for opt-outs.