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European Patent with Unitary effect (Unitary Patent)

The unitary patent is coming. Here you can find everything about the new instrument and how you can use it.

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Jan 01, 2023: EPO eases access to the request for unitary effect (early application for unitary effect; delayed grant of existing application)

Dec 5, 2022: The deposit of the ratified UPC Agreement is postponed to March 1, 2023. Thus, the Unified Patent Court is expected to start its work on June 1, 2023. Then the unitary patent will be valid in 17 countries.

Oct 19, 2022: The Unified Patent Court confirms the appointment of a total of 85 judges (34 legally qualified and 51 technically qualified judges) who will take office upon the entry into force of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court.​

Feb 22, 2022: Here we go! The Administrative Council of the Court is constituted in its inaugural meeting. The Budget Committee and the Advisory Committee were established.

Feb 07, 2022: The protocol is published in the BGBl (BGBl. III Nr. 14/2022).

Jan 17, 2022: Austria deposits the protocol for the preparatory, "provisional" application of articles of the United Court Treaty. The initiation of the "provisional phase" is thus secured and can begin!

The EU unitary patent is coming in 2023 and everyone should have easy access to it. For the current time 17 member states are participating, fully developed, it can then become 24.

The six most important questions about the Unitary patent

    • When can I get a unitary patent?
      Unitary patents are expected to be granted from June 2023. After a European Patent has been issued by the European Patent Office, applications can file for unitary effect within one month. The European Patent Office will provide two temporary measures that allow for early filing for unitary effect and a delay in issuing the decision to grant European Patent from Jan 1, 2023. If your European Patent is about to be granted you should consider these options.
    • How much will the unitary patent cost?
      On average, a unitary patent will cost around €7400 within the first 10 years. Instead of a fee for each country in which patent protection is sought, the unitary patent will have a single fee for all participating states to be paid to a central authority (the EPO). By comparison, for the same price inventors were previously able to receive patent protection in only four Member States of the European Patent Organization. With the unitary patent protection will cover 17 countries.
    • Is the entire EU participating in the unitary patent?
      Initially, 17 countries will be participating in the system: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden. The unitary patent will have effect in all of these countries.
    • What are the translation rules for the unitary patent?
      The unitary patent can be applied for in German, English or French, just like the previous European bundle patent. During a transitional period of twelve years, all European Patent specifications must be translated into English or into another official language of the EU. After the transitional period, no translation will be necessary anymore. 
    • How to obtain a unitary patent?
      A European Patent must be applied for and granted by the European Patent Office. After this, a request for unitary effect can be filed at the European Patent Office within one month after receiving the date of publication of the mention of the grant in the European Patent Bulletin. From Jan 1, 2023 the European Patent Office eases the request for unitary effect (early application for unitary effect; delayed grant of existing application, see https://www.epo.org/applying/european/unitary/unitary-patent/transitional-arrangements-for-early-uptake.html
    • What support do companies and researchers who want to apply for a unitary patent get from the Austrian Patent Office?
      The Austrian Patent Office's IP Academy will continue to offer seminars on the European Patent with unitary effect in 2023. The Austrian Patent Office will assist you in your decision to internationalize with a professional assessment of whether your invention is new and patentable. The Patent Office advises and accompanies SMEs, startups and researchers to provide them with a secure path to internationalization.

    The advantages

    The unitary patent will bring advantages to inventors and companies: Firstly, it allows for a protection of innovations with one single patent and one single Patent Office under a centralized fee and translation regime. This saves time and a lot of paperwork. Additionally, protection will become more affordable - what used to pay for protection in four countries, now pays for protection in 17 countries. Above all, the otherwise very time-consuming translation into several different national languages according to different national legislation is no longer necessary. Additionally, a centralized court system will ensure legal certainty.

    Note! The unitary patent is not a walk in the park.

    Despite all the advantages and the simple application, there are some things to consider. For example, if the unitary effect is not granted, the entire procedural fees will be lost.

    The new granting procedure works according to the principle "One for all, all for one". If the patent is granted, it is valid in all participating countries. However, if it is successfully challenged in front of the unified patent court, then it can lose its effect in all countries.

    The Unified Patent Court will consist of two central chambers in Munich and Paris, as well as local chambers in Vienna, Stockholm, Brussels, Copenhagen and more. 

    The Court of Appeal will be situated in Luxembourg.


    The Unitary Patent will enter into force when Germany ratifies the Agreement on the Unitary Patent Court and formally deposits the instrument in Brussels.

    After a sunrise period of three months, the unitary patent system will then enter into force on June 1, 2023 and first European Patents with unitary effect can be granted.

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