Takeaway: The recently launched Unitary Patent System offers applicants the choice to obtain a single European patent with simultaneous protection in 17 EU Member States, as well as a unified litigation system handled by the new Unified Patent Court.
The Unitary Patent System, which aims to provide unified patent protection and litigation across participating EU Member States, officially launched on June 1, 2023.
Under this system, applicants can obtain a single European patent known as a Unitary Patent (UP), which offers simultaneous protection in 17 EU Member States. Additionally, a unified litigation system, handled by the new Unified Patent Court (UPC), will handle patent disputes for a significant portion of the European market.
From now on, when a European patent is granted, applicants have two options: the classic validation system, where they choose individual countries for patent protection, or the Unitary effect, which involves filing a request with the European Patent Office within one month of the grant. The decision to utilize the Unitary Patent will depend on factors such as desired countries of protection, potential for technical invalidation, existing agreements, co-ownership, and distribution arrangements.