Unitary Patent to become a reality

Russell Thom

Unitary patent

Unitary Patent will now become a reality.

Following the deposit of the instrument of ratification by Austria yesterday, the Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on provisional application (PPA) enters into force today.

Unitary Patent

It will also mean that patentees can choose to validate a Unitary Patent (UP) that will cover all EU member states who have ratified the UPC Agreement.

Traditionally, following grant under the rules of the European Patent Convention (EPC), European patents must be validated and maintained individually in each country where they take effect. This validation process can be a complex and potentially costly in view of translation costs, and validation fees charged by the respective national patent office in which the European Patent is being validated. These costs depend on the number of countries where the patent proprietor wishes to validate the European patent.

Following the grant of a European Patent a Unitary Patent will make it possible to get patent protection in up to 25 EU Member States by submitting a single request to the EPO. The Unitary Patent will provide unitary patent protection in up to 25 EU Member States. It will also be possible to validate the granted European Patent in other non EU Member states / EU member states that have not ratified the UPC Agreement.

There will be no change in the pre-grant phase of a European Patent application.

Unified Patent Court (UPC)

This will pave the way to a significant change to the patent litigation landscape in Europe by creation of a Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UPC is an international court set up by 25 of the participating Member States. Under the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC), the UPC would deal with infringement and validity of both Unitary Patents and European patents. Its rulings will apply in all Member States that have ratified the Agreement on a UPC.

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