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Unitary Patent

Unitary Patent
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The Unitary Patent is a new type of patent that provides uniform protection in participating European Union countries. It is based on European patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) and is valid on the territory of 25 EU Member States by submitting a single application to the EPO.

Currently, there are 17 states that have already ratified the Agreements, so the Unitary patent is valid automatically on the territory of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.

Countries that are member states of the European Patent Convention (EPC) but do not participate in the Unitary Patent effect should obtain coverage via validation procedure.

  • Patent fees

Fees associated with filing the Unitary patent applications as well as other patent fees are available in the fee calculator.

  • Term for filing a Unitary patent application

The term for filing an application for obtainment of a unitary patent is one month after the date of publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin. This term is non-extendable. The restoration of said term is possible within two months after the expiry of the one-month period.

  • Filing requirements

For obtaining a Unitary Patent if the European Patent Office proceedings were in French or German, an English translation of the granted European patent is required. If the proceedings were conducted in English, a translation into any of the 23 official languages of the EU is needed.

The request for unitary effect has to be filed in the language of proceedings.

To obtain a Unitary patent, it is necessary to provide the EPO with:
- a request for unitary effect;
- translation of the European patent.

The Power of Attorney is not required for filing a request for unitary effect with the EPO, meanwhile, it may be requested by the Patent Office at any time during prosecution. No legalization or notarization is required.

No Assignment Deed is required for filing a request for unitary effect with the EPO.

  • Examination of a unitary patent application

After filing the request for a unitary effect, the EPO will examine the application for compliance with the formal requirements, namely whether the patent in EPO is granted and whether the application for obtainment of a unitary patent is prepared in accordance with the Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection.

  • Grant, validity term and maintenance fees

There are no fees to be paid for registration stages. Once the examination of the application is successfully completed the EPO will grant a Unitary Patent, i.e. register unitary effect in the Register for unitary patent protection, and inform the applicant of the date of registration. The Unitary Patent will take effect on the date of the publication of the grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin.

To maintain the validity of Unitary Patent, annually, one renewal fee is required to be paid directly to the EPO covering all countries at once. The term of a Unitary patent is 20 years from the filing date. An annual fee is due on the last day of the month containing the anniversary of the filing date of the corresponding European patent application and may not be paid earlier than three months before it falls due. Late payment is possible within six months after the due date on condition of payment of a surcharge.

  • Duration of registration procedure

The duration of the procedure of obtainment of a Unitary patent is expected to be approximately 12 months for granted European patents if the prosecution process runs smoothly.

  • Representation by a patent attorney

For applicants not residing or having a principal place of business in any of the European Convention contracting states, it is necessary to appoint a representative and act through the representative.

  • Notes

1. Online Database for European Patents (EP) Search.
2. Prior to the registration of a Unitary Patent with the EPO, the applicant must acquire a European patent granted through a filed application that has undergone processing under the European Patent Convention.

  • IP Legal Base

European Patent Convention
Regulation (EU) No. 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 17, 2012, implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection
Council Regulation (EU) No. 1260/2012 of December 17, 2012, implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements.

  • Patent Office Contact Details

European Patent Organisation
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
80469 Munich
Phone: +49 (0) 89 2399-0
Fax: +49 (0) 89 2399-4465

Brief summary is based on the information provided by Mikhailyuk, Sorokolat & Partners on 09.04.2024
Please contact us if the above information is not in conformity with European IP Laws