Date: 16 February 2023
The Unitary Patent is coming soon. It represents the biggest development in European patent law since the European Patent started in 1978.
It will be granted by the EPO in the same way and under the same rules. It will initially be available covering 17 of the 39 states of the EPC, representing a market with a population of 285 million consumers and a GDP of $13 trillion. It will not extend to the UK, but the UK can be designated in the usual way, as can other states not party to the new system, including other non-EU states like Switzerland and Turkey.
For the new patent comes a new Court – the Unified Patent Court. It will have divisions in the various states and a Central Division in Paris and Munich. The validity of a Unitary Patent can only be challenged before the Central Division because the patent stands or falls as a whole across all its territory.
European Patent Attorneys (EPAs), including those in the UK, will be able to bring actions before the new Court, provided they have certain additional qualifications, which all EPAs at Maucher Jenkins have. Our German Attorneys-at-Law also have these rights of audience before the new Court.
Pros of Unitary Patent
Cons of Unitary Patent
Designating a Unitary Patent and a UK patent at the time of grant of a European patent will be a popular choice. The UK adds coverage for a further 67 million people and a further $3.5 trillion of GDP. In other words
about another 27% market share for a small increase in annual renewal fees (see chart).