At long last, the Unitary Patent (UP) and the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) are set to begin on June 1, 2023. This has been a long-awaited process, which has seen the roll-out delayed not once, not twice, but three times.
The UP is expected to a major effect on foreign patent prosecution strategies since, by design, it is a single application that will cover the entire European Union market, although initially on June 1, it will only be available in 17 EU countries. Keep in mind, after the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU in 2019, the UP will not be available there. The United Kingdom (GB), however, is still a member of the European Patent Convention (EPC), and as such an applicant could file an European patent (EP) application and validating in the UK. The EP will continue in parallel with the UP after June 1, offering patent applicants two different choices for patent protection in Europe. The EP patent covers 39 member states, plus 4 validation states – Morocco (MA), Moldova (MD), Tunisia (TN), and Cambodia (KH), and 1 extension state – Bosnia-Herzegovina (BA). The EP covers more territory of the Europe, but with the validations and translations required, costs and fees are substantially higher. The UP covers only the EU member states (notably Norway (NO), Switzerland (CH) and the aforementioned United Kingdom are not members of the EU).
For more information on the UP, UPC, and EP patent prosecution processes, please contact Yonaxis I.P. Law Group.