New Unitary Patent Information Series

14 五月 2013

A group of European states have recently agreed upon a Unitary Patent and a Unified Patent Court. When these come into effect, it will represent a major change in how patent protection can be obtained and enforced in Europe. In brief:

  • The Unitary Patent will be a  European patent granted by the European Patent Office under the provisions of the European Patent Convention, and which has unitary effect across all of the participating states.
  • A new Unified Patent court will be established to hear both Unitary Patent and conventional European Patent cases. This court will be able to give judgements with binding effect throughout all participating states.
  • Eventually, machine translation should provide all translations of Unitary Patents that may be required. During a transitional period a full translation of the specification into one other language will need to be filed in order to obtain a Unitary Patent.
  • The level of the fees payable for a Unitary Patent (including renewal fees) is not yet known.
  • During a transitional period, holders of non-unitary European patents will be able to opt out of these patents coming under the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court.
  • Various potential advantages and risk factors of the new regime mean that in many cases, whether or not to make use of the new Unified Patent system  will not be a straightforward decision for an applicant.
  • Patent owners who do not wish their European patents to be subject to the Unitary Patent regime should consider whether to file for European patent protection by means of national applications instead of through the EPO.

To help our clients understand the changes, Haseltine Lake has produced a series of articles on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, which will be published here over the coming months. These articles will outline what is currently known about how the new regime will operate, point out what is not yet known, and consider what actions our clients could take to prepare at this stage.

The first article in the series, available to read now by clicking the link below, deals with the motivation behind the Unitary Patent system, and how far along in the implementation process it has reached.

Further instalments will be published on this page on a monthly basis.

Click here for Article 1 - Setting the scene

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