Unitary Patents – What You Should Do Now
The patent system in Europe added two new elements in June 2023, the Unitary Patent (UP) and the new Unified Patent Court (UPC), with the aim of making the process of obtaining and enforcing Europe-wide patent protection simpler and more cost-effective.
It is important to note that the UP and UPC will not affect the procedure of obtaining a European patent at all until after grant (i.e. at the validation stage). Applications should still be filed as European applications, e.g., by entering the EP Regional Phase from a PCT application / directly filing at the European Patent Office (EPO).
The Unitary Patent (UP)
The UP is an alternative way of validating a patent granted by the EPO to cover at least 16 European countries with one ‘unified’ patent, rather than validating many individual patents each covering a single country. Applicants are able to choose a UP at grant of their European patent application, along with other validation states that are currently not covered by the UP.
The Unified Patent Court (UPC)
The UPC is a court which has jurisdiction for all infringement and validity actions for UPs. For now, applicants can choose if the UPC has jurisdiction over their ‘classic’ national validations of EPs in UPC countries.
Why Choose The UP?
What Should You Do Now?
- Decide if you want to request Unitary Patents when your European Patents grant. If wanted, request UP at the validation stage at the same time as any non-UP countries. Ask us for our flow chart guide if you need help deciding.
- For granted European patents where a UP is not requested, decide if you want to opt-out of the UPC for national validations in UPC countries. If you do want to opt-out, do so at grant. Ask us for our flow chart guide if you need help deciding.
We can help you choose the right European patent strategy for your business. To arrange a consultation, please contact Louise Carr.
Louise Carr, UK & European Patent Attorney
T. 0208 390 3775 / E. firstname.lastname@example.org