Unitary patent & Unified Patent Court
The new unitary patent (UP) and, in particular, the introduction of the Unified patent Court (UPC) represent the biggest change in the European patent law in the last forty years.
The unitary patent will provide a single patent right across all participating European Union member states. It will be litigated as a single unit across the territory before the Unified Patent Court. The Unified Patent Court will also be the litigation forum for “classic” European patents. However, during a transitional period it will be possible to avoid the competence of the UPC for the non-unitary European patents by opting them out of the system.
24 out of 27 member states of the European Union have agreed to take part in the new system (subject to ratification).
The date of entry into force of the Unified Patent Court agreement, and, therefore, the start of the new system (UP & UPC) will be on June 1st 2023.
So far, 17 states have deposited their instruments of ratification: Austria (06.08.2013), France (14.03.2014), Sweden (05.06.2014), Belgium (06.06.2014), Denmark (20.06.2014), Malta (09.12.2014), Luxembourg (22.05.2015), Portugal (28.08.2015), Finland (19.01.2016), Bulgaria (03.06.2016), The Netherlands (14.09.2016), Italy (10.02.2017), Estonia (01.08.2017), Lithuania (24.08.2017), Latvia (11.01.2018), Slovenia (15.10.2021), and Germany (17.02.2023).
United Kingdom also deposited the instrument of ratification (26.04.2018). However, withdrawal of its ratification was filed after Brexit and was effective as from 20.07.2020.
If you still have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our experts: