The European Patent with Unitary Effect

The European Patent with Unitary Effect

The European Union has established the Unitary Patent (or European Patent with Unitary Effect or BU) and the Unified Patent Court (UPT). The institutions, which also go by the name “Unitary Package,” are respectively tasked with unifying patent protection and jurisdiction procedures within EU countries. This important innovation comes with the adoption of the Reinforced Cooperation framework (Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union and Title III of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

Since the signing of the 1978 European Patent Convention, patent holders have had to validate them in each individual Union country of interest, facing different procedures and costs depending on the state.

  • The BU represents a very important “revolution,” in that it allows a patent to be validated in all countries of the European Union that are members of this discipline. It also introduces several new features: a single maintenance fee will be due for validity. After a period of six years, no post-grant translation will be required, while during this transitional time a translation with no legal value, but only for information, must be provided.
  • SMEs, individuals, nonprofit organizations, universities and public research organizations based in the European Union that file a patent application in an official European language other than English, French and German will be eligible for a compensation scheme, amounting to €500, that will cover translation costs.

  • Unitary Patents will enjoy one simple renewal procedure, the fees of which will have very competitive rates for the first ten years.

  • All patent administration will be handled centrally by the European Patent Office. An online registry on which licenses and transfers can be accessed will also be available.

  • Unitary patents will also confer truly uniform protection through the Unified Patent Court Agreement.