The Unitary Patent system is now ready to enter into operation on 1 June 2023 after the German government deposited its instrument of ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) with the Council of the European Union. It is now up to European inventors whether or not they will use the new system.
The unitary patent considerably simplifies and minimizes the cost of patent coverage in Europe for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It also reduces the administrative costs. However, larger companies are more likely to take a more diversified approach, pursuing unitary patent protection where necessary. Also, the utility of the unitary patent system varies depending on the technical field as well as the types of the products and markets.
European innovators must now consider two different issues. The first is whether to use a unitary patent or the conventional European Patent Convention (EPC) method to protect new ideas in Europe. The second is whether to let the Unified Patent Court rule on challenges to their granted patents, or to opt them out and fight any challenges at the national level. Both options provide certain challenges.
- Publication date
- 6 March 2023