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Unitary Patent & Unitary Patent Court

Germain Maureau supports its clients in their strategies, taking into account the latest developments in Europe. The Firm represents its clients:

  • to obtain a European patent with unitary effect or an “opt-out”, or
  • as part of a litigation before the Unified Patent Court.

Unitary Patent i.e. European Patent with Unitary Effect

The unitary patent system is an important development in Europe’s patent system.

The Unitary Patent System came into force on June 1, 2023.

The Unitary Patent System leads to cost savings for companies, mainly due to lower validation fees.

The European Patent Office (EPO) remains the office in charge of examination of European patent applications.

However, upon grant of a European Patent, the Applicant will be able to choose between:

  • a European patent with unitary effect in 17 countries (to this date) and
  • a “classic” European patents through a validation step.

Some countries which are party to the European Patent Convention (EPC) are not covered by the Unitary Patent (such as United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, etc.) either because they are not part of the European Union or because they chose not to participate in the Unitary Patent.

For those countries, a validation step is the only option to get a protection by the European patent.

Unified Patent Court

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) has jurisdiction concerning validity and infringement of:

  • Unitary Patents; and
  • “classic” European patents in 17 European countries part of the European Union.

However, concerning “classic” European patents, during a transition period of 7 years, the patent owner may:

  • accept the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court;
  • “opt-out”, i.e. choose to remain only in the existing system where national courts are competent for each national part of the European patent.

For countries outside the Unitary Patent Court Agreement (such as United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, etc.) national courts will remain the only option.

Cost implications

“Classic” European Patent and Unitary Patent examination costs are identical.

Concerning validation and maintenance costs for countries that have joined the unitary patent system,