Alongside the Unitary Patent system, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has also been established. The Unified Patent Court will handle disputes related to both Unitary Patents and classical European Patents, which are currently dealt with in national courts.
As of June 1, 2023, there are 17 European Union (EU) member states participating in the Unitary Patent system: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden. The number of countries may increase in the future.
The legal basis for the Unitary Patent system is formed by Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of Unitary Patent protection and the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPCA).
For more information about the Unitary Patent system, you can visit the website of the European Patent Office (EPO).
How to apply
The European Patent Office (EPO) grants both European Patents and Unitary Patents.
A Unitary Patent can be applied for when the European Patent Office has granted a European Patent. To obtain a unitary effect, the applicant must submit a request to the EPO.
The EPO guide for applying for a Unitary Patent is available in English, French, and German.
The new solution is simpler, more extensive, cheaper, and provides legal certainty!
With the amendment to the Implementation of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents and of Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council Act, a safety net mechanism has been established to protect the owners of European Patents. This mechanism comes into effect when the European Patent Office (EPO) rejects an application for a Unitary Patent. It allows the late enforcement of a European Patent in Estonia.
To avail this procedure, the owner of the European Patent must file a translation of the European Patent in Estonian to the Estonian Patent Office and pay the prescribed state fee for the publication of the translation within three months from the effective date of the decision refusing to grant Unitary Patent.
Along with the translation of the patent, the final decision on the refusal to grant Unitary Patent must be filed. The deadline for submitting the translation can be extended by an additional two months by paying an additional state fee.
Implementation of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents and of Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council Act entered into force on June 1, 2023.
Please check the EPO website to find out if and how the safety net mechanism has been implemented in other countries.
Last updated: 24.05.2023