A revised version of this publication entered into force.
Since nearly all the EPC contracting states are members of the WTO, the relevant provisions of the TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) are implemented in the revised EPC.
2.3.002The EPC further constitutes a regional patent treaty within the meaning of Article 45(1) PCT, which means that European patents can be granted on the basis of an international application filed under the PCT. The Euro-PCT Guide deals with this filing route to obtaining patent protection in Europe. It is available on the EPO website (epo.org).
2.3.003The Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC – the London Agreement – is an optional agreement aiming at reducing the costs relating to the translation of European patents. The EPC contracting states which have ratified or acceded to the Agreement undertake to waive, entirely or largely, the requirement for translations of European patents. For more information, please consult the EPO website (epo.org).
2.3.004The future Unitary Patent will be a "European patent with unitary effect", which means a European patent granted by the EPO under the rules and procedures of the EPC to which, after grant, unitary effect is attributed for the territory of the EU member states participating in the Unitary Patent scheme and bound by the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). After grant of the European patent – but no later than one month after the mention of grant is published in the European Patent Bulletin – you will have the option to file a request for unitary effect with the EPO if you wish to obtain a Unitary Patent. The EPO will among other things:
–examine these requests and register unitary effect,
–set up and administer a new Register for Unitary Patent Protection and
–collect renewal fees for Unitary Patents.
These new tasks will be carried out by the EPO under new rules which will implement Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
The Unitary Patent will become available when the UPCA enters into force. This Agreement will enter into force on the first day of the fourth month after it has been ratified by Germany.
A list of the EU member states which have ratified the Agreement is available at: consilium.europa.eu/en/documents-publications/treaties-agreements/agreement/?id=2013001.
For further detailed information, you can consult the Unitary Patent Guide (2nd edition, April 2022) on the EPO website (epo.org).