The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are building blocks of a planned new European patent granting system. Next to European patents and national patents, Unitary Patents shall offer a cost-effective third option to achieve uniform patent protection within the territory of the European Union.
It is planned to link Unitary patents to the conventional European patent granting procedure: Upon a simple request, any granted European patent shall be converted into a Unitary Patent, thus conveying patent protection to the territory of all participating EU member states without the need for separate validation in each EU member state.
The Unified Patent Court (UPC) shall be set up as a supranational court to deal with the infringement and validity of both Unitary Patents and European patents. Its rulings shall apply in all member states that have ratified the UPC Agreement, thus eliminating the need to litigate patents in multiple countries. During a transition period, owners of conventional European patents will be able to opt out of the UPC’s jurisdiction in respect of that patent.
It is still unclear when – and if – the new system will enter into force. However, we would be happy to advise you about the expected effects of this new protective right to your patent portfolio and future IP strategy!