Unitary patent and unified patent court
history in the making: For several decades, the member states of the European
Union (EU) have been negotiating the creation of a European patent with unitary
effect ("unitary patent") and a unified European patent court.
2012, representatives of the EU member states achieved a breakthrough agreement: The European unitary
patent will soon guarantee supranational protection for inventions in 25
countries across Europe. Meanwhile, the agreement to install a European patent court is currently being
ratified by EU member states.
Coming soon: The unitary patent takes effect
can apply for a unitary patent starting on 1 January 2014, or the date of entry
into force of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (whichever is the later).
Find out more details in our focus section.
Focus: Unitary patent
Did you know?
- The EPO is one of
the largest European institutions, right after the European Commission and the
- Together with
patent offices in China, Japan, Korea and the US, the EPO is among the world's
largest patenting authorities.
- The staff of more
than 7000 employees at the EPO includes over 4000 highly specialised engineers,
proficient in the office's three official languages and covering all technical
- Every year, the EPO
processes almost 260 000 patent applications (2012), with almost two-thirds
originating from outside of Europe.
- By filing one
single application in one of the EPO's three official languages (German,
English, French), inventors can protect their inventions on the European market,
covering 38 states with more than 600 million inhabitants.
Video: Interview with EPO President Benoît Battistelli on the unitary patent
Why does the European patenting system need the unitary patent? Which advantages does it offer inventors? And how about the industry? What are the implications for patent litigation across Europe? In our video feature, EPO President Benoît Battistelli reflects on the advantages of the unitary patent.
the unitary patent takes effect, the current requirement for translations into
official EU procedural languages will be a thing of the past. But inventors
will still be able to obtain patent texts in their own languages: An automated
translation tool for patents on the EPO website, Patent Translate, offers free translations
between English and 14 other languages.
Unitary patent FAQs
happens once the unitary patent takes effect? And when will it happen? Find the
answers in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section:
Unitary patent FAQs