Spotlight on

The Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court

The Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court provides a new type of European patent and a new system for litigating patents in Europe. It's the realisation of an ambition to unify European patents that dates back almost 50 years, we’re excited it has now arrived!

The unitary patent system realises and ambition that dates back to 1975, when legislation was drawn up to provide a single patent covering all member states of the then European Economic Community (the forerunner of the EU).  That legislation never entered force.  Now, 48 years later, the new European Patent with Unitary Effect (also known as the Unitary Patent or "UP") and its associated court system, the “UPC”, became a reality on 1 June 2023. 

Currently, Unitary Patents cover seventeen EU states including Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Sweden with a single, indivisible patent.  (Future UPs will cover additional EU countries.). Applicants can now obtain a Unitary patent once their European patent application has been examined and granted by the EPO. A unitary patent is available provided that the EP grant date falls after the UPC/UP legislative package entered force on 1 June 2023.


Unitary patents are enforced and litigated at the newly created Unified Patent Court (UPC), which will have ‘central divisions’ in Paris, Munich (and later, Milan), and an appeals court in Luxembourg. In fact, the jurisdiction of the UPC also extends to ‘conventional’ European patents that have been ‘validated’ in one or more participating EU states. However, patentees can “opt-out” their conventional European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC during a transitional period, which will last for the first seven years of the court’s existence, at least.

Now that the UPC/UP system is available, Mewburn Ellis can obtain unitary patents for our clients, manage the process of opting out their conventional European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC (if this is desired) and handle litigation at the UPC.

Contact Us to Discuss the Unitary Patent & UPC
Validations Costs Estimator Mock-Up

Validation Cost Estimator Tool

Easily compare validation routes

We know that it can be challenging to understand whether using the Unitary Patent is the right approach for your business, so we created a Validation Cost Estimator Tool to help you calculate costs for each route. 

Our tool enables you to quickly and easily calculate whether National Validations only or a combination of the Unitary Patent and National Validations is the best option. You can also look at both upfront and ongoing costs to make an informed business decision.

The tool is simple to use, you don't need dates or patent numbers to get results and you can quickly and easily compare both routes side by side and quickly adjust your variables. You can also download your results in a pdf to refer to offline when you need to.

Open cost estimator tool   

Tool user guide

Read our Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court Blogs

UPC Weekly - UPC Court of Appeal confirms their own case law on claim interpretation but sidesteps question of file wrapper estoppel

UPC Weekly - UPC Court of Appeal confirms their own case law on claim interpretation but sidesteps question of file wrapper estoppel

2024 Week 20 The UPC Court of Appeal have issued another decision on a preliminary injunction – this time in the case of VusionGroup v. Hanshow on 13 May 2024. The Court of Appeal agreed with the ...

UPC Weekly - High bar to challenge the jurisdiction of the UPC

UPC Weekly - High bar to challenge the jurisdiction of the UPC

2024 Week 19 This week saw the UPC issue two decisions about its own jurisdiction. Where a defendant wants to challenge the jurisdiction of the UPC to hear a dispute, they must file a preliminary ...

UPC Weekly - Preliminary injunctions at the UPC – get your defence ready

UPC Weekly - Preliminary injunctions at the UPC – get your defence ready

2024 Week 18 This week we look at a recent UPC first instance decision for a preliminary injunction. The message being sent by the UPC to patent proprietors is clear. The UPC is ready and willing to ...

UPC Weekly - Battling the Biosimilars: opt-outs, preliminary injunctions & protective letters

UPC Weekly - Battling the Biosimilars: opt-outs, preliminary injunctions & protective letters

2024 Week 17 This week we delve into the details of the first two UPC disputes involving biosimilars. Alexion Pharmaceuticals have launched UPC proceedings against Amgen and Samsung, while Novartis ...

UPC Weekly - Language of proceedings at the UPC

UPC Weekly - Language of proceedings at the UPC

2024 Week 16 This week we focus on the language of proceedings at the UPC, considering when the defendant can successfully request a change of the language of proceedings, and an overview of the ...

UPC Weekly - Time-dependent transparency of UPC proceedings?

UPC Weekly - Time-dependent transparency of UPC proceedings?

2024 Week 15 The week saw the Court of Appeal issue its decision on public access to court file documents in the Ocado v. Autostore case. We set out the background to the issues in a previous blog. A ...

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Our Thoughts and Advice

We think that the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court is a great development in IP and we’re fully behind it. It is a superb opportunity for everyone and we’re delighted to be part of the most exciting development in European patent law for decades. 

These changes provide patent owners with another set of options and additional flexibility to protect their inventions. The unitary patent adds valuable flexibility, but it does make options more complex, it has to be used with care and is not without risks. We’ll help guide our clients in these new decisions to understand what the best approach will be for their businesses. Not only does this give patent owners more choices, it will represent exceptional value because it covers many EU countries with a single patent. This is far more cost effective than using national validations.
 
The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are the biggest changes to happen to the European patent system in our professional lifetimes. We’re at the forefront of these changes. We have a great team that are focussed on the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable and the very best at what they do. We’re experts at patent strategy and patent litigation – we will be experts on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court too.
 
We pride ourselves on being the forward-looking IP firm – we’ve been helping shape IP law for generations. From helping to draft European Law in the 1970s to shaping EPO practice today, we’re embracing the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court with the same entrepreneurial spirit we’ve always had.

Read Our Law & practice guide
HubSpot UPC Guide image

Guide to the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court

This is a significant change that has different implications depending on business goals as well as your sector and size of business.

Find out more detail about the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court with our detailed guide. This covers a summary overview of both as well as details around costs and processes to obtain a unitary patent and a comparison of pros and cons.

Download here

Challenging patents and other clearance actions in Europe

Find out more about post-grant offensive options including EPO oppositions, UKIPO non-binding validity opinions, and revocation actions at the UKIPO, UPC or national courts. To post-grant defensive options including UPC protective letters, UKIPO non-binding infringement opinions, and UPC or national court declarations of non-infringement (DNIs).  

Our brochure also covers pre-grant options including third-party observations at the EPO, UKIPO, German Patent Office (DPMA), and at the World IP Office (WIPO).

VIEW HERE
Patent Disputes three page spread 2-1

Countries Participating in the European Unitary Patent Scheme

Out of the 27 current EU countries, 24 agreed to participate in the Unified Patent Court and the European unitary patent scheme.

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Cyprus

Czechia

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Ireland

Italy

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Portugal

Romania

Slovakia

Slovenia

Sweden

Read More: Law & Practice Guide

Forward: On Demand Vlog

Unitary Patent Overview

Eliot Ward gives us a 10 minute overview of the Unitary Patent Package, including what the system is, why we are excited about it, how to obtain it (when it becomes available), and when it is expected to become available.

Click the links below to jump to the corresponding parts of this vlog.

  • 0:00 Intro

  • 0:57 What is this new system?

  • 5:06 Why choose a Unitary Patent?

  • 7:16 How to get a Unitary Patent?

  • 8:06 What countries will it cover?

  • 9:10 When will it be available?

  • 9:56 Outro

Forward Magazines Overlapping 8

Mewburn Ellis

FORWARD MAGAZINE

Mewburn Ellis Forward is a biannual publication that celebrates the best of innovation and exploration. Through its pages we hope to inform and entertain, but also to encourage discussion about the most compelling developments taking place in the scientific and entrepreneurial world. Along the way, we’ll engage with the IP challenges that international organisations face every day.