European Unitary Patent system officially launches

The European Unitary Patent system officially launched aiming to simplify the registration and enforcement process of companies’ patents across the EU.

 Text, Symbol, Sign, Airport

The Unitary Patent System is officially launched and consists of two distinct pillars: the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court.

The Unitary Patent is based on two EU regulations, No 1257/2012 and No 1260/2012, which came into force parallel to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement) on 1 June 2023. European Commission claims that the new Unitary Patent System will be able to offer a cost-effective way of patent protection across member states by eliminating national validation and renewal procedures, which would particularly help small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

Unitary Patent

Under the first pillar, companies can register and enforce their patents in a one-stop-shop. Additionally, companies and other innovators will be able to receive a single Unitary Patent for inventions, which will be valid across participating member states. For companies to obtain a Unitary Patent, they must file an application at the European Patent Office (EPO) for examination. If the patent is granted by EPO, within a month, the company may request EPO to grant the unitary effect of the patent for the participating member states.

Unified Patent Court

The new Unified Patent Court (UPC) has jurisdiction over Unitary Patents and existing European Patents. At the same time, jurisdiction over existing European Patents is subject to exceptions as there was a transitional period of seven years. Thus, cases regarding existing European Patents may still be brought before national courts or other competent authorities while also having the possibility of being opted out entirely from the UPC’s jurisdiction.