Start of the Unitary Patent – A Historic Step for Innovating Businesses in Europe
1 June 2023 marks a historic day for patent protection in Europe with the entry into operation of the much-anticipated Unitary Patent system. The launch represents the most significant development in the European patent landscape since the signing of the European Patent Convention 50 years ago.
This day heralds a new dawn for patents and innovation in Europe. It is a time when users can look forward to a more accessible form of patent protection that will deliver growth for our businesses and economies, and help inventors to deliver sustainable solutions to tackle the great challenges of our days.
Being strongly involved in the European IP & Innovation ecosystem for nearly 20 years, Eurice welcomes the Unitary Patent System: "The Unitary Patent system brings a host of substantial improvements for users everywhere, including cost reductions, streamlined procedures, increased transparency, and enhanced legal certainty," says Jörg Scherer, Managing Director of Eurice and Co-ordinator of the European IP Helpdesk.
Starting 1 June, users can apply for a single patent through a single procedure, subject to a single renewal fee in a single currency, and litigate under a single legal system before the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UPC, which also commences its operations today, makes a centralised enforcement system for patents a reality and allows users to file cases at the European level.
So far, seventeen states – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden – have joined, with eight additional EU member states expected to participate in the future. These economies generate an estimated combined GDP of more than EUR 12 trillion – or almost 80 % of the entire EU's GDP – and encompass a population of nearly 300 million people. The new patent regime further solidifies the European market's standing as a critical global market for innovation and investment.