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    Unitary Patent

    The unitary patent is coming. The unitary patent comes into force on 1 June 2023 - a patent that offers protection for 17 countries of the European Union “in one go”. On this page you can read all about the developments regarding the unitary patent.

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    What is a unitary patent?

    The unitary patent is a patent that offers protection “at once” for 17 countries of the European Union. The unitary patent must make it financially attractive for the patent applicant to obtain a patent in “Europe”.

    Who is the unitary patent for?

    The unitary patent should make it financially more attractive for patent applicants to obtain a patent in “Europe”. Particularly when a patent is desired in a relatively large number of European countries, the unitary patent will be more financially attractive than a bundle of national patents.

    In which countries does it offer protection?

    The unitary patent offers protection for 17 countries of the European Union. Not all 27 EU countries are participating. For example, an important country such as Spain is not taking part. The same applies to the United Kingdom (UK) since Brexit.

    • Belgium
    • Bulgaria
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • France
    • Germany
    • Italy
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Malta
    • The Nederlands
    • Austria
    • Portugal
    • Slovenia
    • Finland
    • Sweden

    Why a unitary patent?

    Cost reduction

    The unitary patent makes it possible to apply for a patent that is valid in several countries at a lower cost.

    Easier administration

    Because patents can be applied for centrally, it is no longer necessary to go to a national court of the country in question.

    Unified Patent Court

    You can enforce your unitary patent in a centrally oriented court.

    More powerful patent

    The unitary patent makes it possible to take infringers to court in a more “powerful” way.

    Where are we right now?

    February 2023

    Ratification by Duitsland

    Germany has ratified the “UPC Agreement” in February 2023. The “UPC Agreement” enters into force on the 1st day of the 4th month after the deposit of the instrument of ratification (i.e. June 1, 2023).

    March 2023 - May 2023

    Sunrise period

    On March 1, 2023, a transitional period will start in which the patent applicant can make the necessary preparations for the real start of the unitary patent on June 1, 2023. This period lasts 3 months and is called the "sunrise" period in English.

    June 2023

    Start of the unitary patent

    The unitary patent takes effect on June 1, 2023. Together with the introduction of the unitary patent, there will also be a so-called “Unified Patent Court” (UPC), where disputes regarding unitary patents will be handled. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed of the latest news regarding the arrival of the unitary patent.


    Steps to prepare

    During the transitional period you will need to make choices. This step-by-step plan prepares you for the arrival of the unitary patent

    Download roadmap

    How will it work later?

    Cost of a unitary patent

    The cost of maintaining a unitary patent has been equated with the cost of the renewal fees of the four most popular “validation countries” (i.e. the four countries in which a “classic” European patent has been most frequently validated). If you have more than four European countries for patent protection in mind, a unitary patent can therefore be cost-effective.

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    The unitary patent – (still) not there yet

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What does a unitary patent cost?

    The costs of a unitary patent differ in many cases from the costs of a ''classic'' European patent.

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    When will the unitary patent be available?

    The unitary patent is expected to be available from June 1, 2023.

    In which countries is a unitary patent valid?

    The unitary patent provides protection for the following 17 countries of the European Union; Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden.

    Is a unitary patent valid worldwide?

    A unitary patent is not valid worldwide. For EU countries that do not participate in the unitary patent, the situation remains “the same” and protection can only be obtained through a “classic” European patent.

    Why was the unitary patent created?

    The unitary patent was created to make it easier and cheaper to obtain patent protection in several European countries at the same time. A unitary patent is (as stated above) more cost-efficient, in particular with regard to the costs of the renewal fees, and on the other hand, the "Unified Patent Court" to be set up offers the possibility to establish the validity of a unitary patent - or infringement of a unitary patent - “centrally”, without having to initiate separate procedures at national level.

    What is the difference between a unitary patent and a European/worldwide patent?

    Patents are essentially national rights. This means that patents must in principle be applied for in every country where you would like to establish patent rights.

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    What is the Unified Patent Court?

    This is a new European patent court where unitary patent disputes will be settled. This court will only deal with patent cases.

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    Contact an expert

    The advent of the unitary patent offers you as a (future) patent holder additional choices. Whether a unitary patent is of interest to you depends on your specific situation. AOMB is happy to discuss with you which choices are desirable for your patent portfolio.

    Contact us