Change is coming to the world of patent law. June 1, 2023 will see the birth of the European patent with unitary effect – or unitary patent, for short – and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) begin its work.
Together, this will establish a unitary patent system across the European Union. Commercial law firm MTR Legal Rechtsanwälte, a focus of whose practice is IP and patent law, notes that it will be possible to apply for uniform patent protection in 17 EU member states at first.
The unitary patent creates a comprehensive and uniform framework for the protection of patents in the EU, making it easier and cheaper to register a patent. However, It will not be mandatory. Indeed, it will still be possible to submit applications to the relevant authorities of only those states in which patent protection is desired.
The unitary patent will be valid from June 1, 2023 in 17 EU member states that have signed up to the unitary patent system. Another seven countries are set to follow suit in the near future. The advantage is that the unitary patent is effective in all signatory states. Individual validation in the countries that have signed the Agreement will no longer be necessary going forward.
While it was previously possible in Europe to protect an invention with a national or a European patent, protection had to be applied for individually in each state in which it was to be obtained. This is no longer necessary with the unitary patent.
Cost savings are also possible when it comes to renewing patent protection. The fees for the unitary patent are lower than if the renewal had to be applied for individually in each country. Even if the intention is to renew the patent in only a single state, it may still prove to be cheaper in individual cases.
The introduction of the unitary patent is set to coincide with the launch of the UPC in those countries that have already ratified the Agreement. The Court will then rule on patent disputes in a uniform procedure for all participating EU states.
Both domestic and international clients of MTR Legal Rechtsanwälte can receive counsel from attorneys versed in patent law and IP law.