The UP is an alternative way of validating a patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) to cover at least 16 European countries with one “unified” patent.
The UPC is a court which has jurisdiction for all infringement and validity actions for UPs and EPs in participating countries. The aim is to harmonise patent litigation across the participating states.
Key advantages are that costs will be lower than validating in every participating country, that a single annual renewal fee will cover all participating countries, and that a single infringement or validity action will cover all participating countries.
The UP and UPC system came into force in June 2023.
To pursue the UP route, the European Patent (EP) applicant must make a request for unitary effect and the required translation within one month of grant of the EP.
Yes, it is possible to opt EPs out of the UPC system for at least 7 years. Applicants can also choose to continue validating EPs in individual countries rather than pursuing a UP.