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 new court which will have 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.
It is anticipated that the new UP and UPC system will come 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 will be possible to opt EPs out of the UPC system for at least 7 years after the UPC system comes into force. Applicants can also choose to continue validating EPs in individual countries rather than pursuing a UP.