The so-called "sunrise period" will start on the first day of the month following the deposit of Germany’s instrument of ratification of the UPCA, which is expected to take place in December 2022; thus, the "sunrise period" should start on 1 January 2023.
Furthermore, during the sunrise period, two transitional measures will be available for applicants interested in obtaining a patent with unitary effect and will be applicable for European patent applications for which a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC has been dispatched. These transitional measures will be available until the date of entry into force of the UPCA.
This first transitional measure will enable applicants to file early requests for unitary effect already before the start of the unitary patent system. This will allow the EPO to register the unitary effect immediately at the start of the system, provided all corresponding requirements are met. The EPO will register the unitary effect once the unitary patent system has started and communicate the date of this registration to the requester.
This second transitional measure will provide the applicant with the possibility to request a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent after dispatch of a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC by the EPO and before approving the text intended for grant. This will make the European patent that would otherwise have been granted before the start of the new system eligible for unitary patent effect, and will avoid that applicants miss opportunities to obtain a unitary patent in the transitional period.
That is, at an applicant’s request, the EPO will delay issuing its decision to grant a European patent such that the mention of the grant is published in the European Patent Bulletin only on or immediately after the start date of the unitary patent system. Such a request thus makes a European patent eligible for unitary patent effect.