The Unitary Patent: an additional option enhancing the European patent system
The aim of the reform of the European patent system through the creation of Unitary Patent protection is to offer businesses a simpler alternative to the existing system and introduce a more cost-effective route to patent protection and dispute resolution.
A Unitary Patent offers an additional option for patent protection in Europe, available alongside the two existing options, namely the national route or a classic European patent.
Those preferring to seek protection in individual EPC contracting states can still file patent applications with those states' national patent offices, and it also remains possible to validate a European patent in one or more EPC contracting states.
Moreover, a Unitary Patent can be combined with a classic European patent: it is possible to seek a Unitary Patent and, in addition, validate the European patent in those EPC contracting states whose territories are not covered by the Unitary Patent scheme because they are not EU Member States or they are EU Member States not participating in enhanced cooperation on Unitary Patent protection or they are EU Member States that are participating in enhanced cooperation but have not yet ratified or acceded to the UPCA.