New Unitary Patent system launched, pioneering a new era of patent protection and enforcement in the EU

The Commission today welcomed the launch of the Unitary Patent system.

About the Unitary Patent system

The Unitary Patent system:

  • provides a one-stop-shop for the registration and enforcement of patents in Europe. This means:
    • lower costs
    • less paperwork and
    • reduced administrative burden for innovators, in particular for SMEs
  • allows companies and other innovators to receive a single “unitary” patent for their inventions, valid across all the participating Member States. This replaces the need to navigate a complex patchwork of national patent laws and procedures and sets aside the costlier national validation requirements applicable to European patents.
  • will make it simpler and easier for companies to protect their innovations in Europe and capitalise on their intellectual property
  • will strengthen the EU’s innovation and competitiveness and complete the Single Market for patents
  • will initially cover 17 Member States, representing around 80% of the EU’s GDP. Participation is open to further Member States in the future.
  • will allow companies to enforce their patent rights more effectively due to the creation of a new Unified Patent Court (UPC), with jurisdiction over Unitary Patents and existing European Patents. The UPC will:
    • provide a more consistent legal framework for patent disputes
    • reduce the risk of inconsistent rulings.
    • will replace multiple parallel proceedings before national courts with a single action before the UPC
What are the main advantages of the Unitary Patent System

The main advantages of the new Unitary Patent system are:

  • Lower costs for protecting patents in Europe
  • One-stop-shop for registration of patents
  • Uniform protection of patents across the participating EU countries
  • Higher legal certainty in enforcing patents
  • Innovation, competitiveness and economic growth

Further information on each of the above is available on this page.

Procedure for obtaining a Unitary Patent
  • The first phase of the procedure to obtain a Unitary Patent exists currently and remains unchanged.
  • It involves filing a European Patent application at the European Patent Office (EPO).
  • The EPO then conducts an examination which, if positive, results in the grant of a European Patent.
  • Within one month of the grant of a patent, the holder of the patent may request EPO to grant unitary effect for the participating Member States.
  • At the same time the holder of the European Patent may also validate it in additional countries not covered by the Unitary Patent system, according to the national procedures already applicable today, depending on the intended geographical coverage.
Is there a fact sheet available for the Unitary Patent system?

Yes there is. You can view it here.

Is there a Q&A available for the Unified Patent system?

Yes there is and you can view it here.

Source: European Commission