75Under certain conditions, proprietors of European patents with unitary effect for which the European patent application was filed in an official EU language other than English, French or German are entitled to compensation for their translation costs.
76To be eligible for this compensation, they must have their residence or principal place of business in an EU Member State. It does not matter if the Member State is not one participating in the Unitary Patent scheme. Furthermore, they must either be a natural person or fall within one of the following categories:
– small and medium-sized enterprises as defined in European Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC dated 6 May 2003, or
– non-profit organisations as defined in Article 2(1)(14) of Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013, or
– universities or public research organisations.
78Compensation is granted only at the express request of the patent proprietor. The request for compensation must be filed together with the request for unitary effect. It must contain a declaration that the proprietor is a natural person or one of the entities mentioned above. Both Form 7000 and the various online options for filing requests for unitary effect include a check box for making the required declaration of eligible status, making it easy in practice to request compensation.
79If the request for compensation is submitted by the same entity as the one that filed the European patent application, the above eligibility criteria must be fulfilled at the time of filing the European patent application.
80Where a request for compensation is submitted after ownership of the European patent application or European patent has changed (e.g. following a transfer or merger), compensation will be granted only if both the original applicant and the new proprietor (in the latter's case, at the time of requesting compensation) fulfil the eligibility criteria set out above (see Rule 8(4) UPR).
82The compensation scheme applies not only to Euro-direct applications filed at the EPO but also to Euro-PCT applications originally filed at a PCT receiving Office or the International Bureau in an EU official language that is not one of the EPO's official languages (see Rule 8(5) UPR).
83The EPO will examine requests for compensation and then notify the proprietor whether or not it can be granted. The EPO cannot pay compensation until unitary effect has been entered in the Register for unitary patent protection (Rule 10(1) UPR). Once compensation has been granted, proprietors retain it regardless of any possible subsequent change in status, i.e. even if, for instance, they no longer fulfil the SME criteria or assign their Unitary Patent to a new proprietor who does not meet the above eligibility criteria (see Rule 10(2) UPR).
84The compensation amounts to EUR 500 and is paid as a lump sum (see Rule 11 UPR in conjunction with Article 4(1) RFeesUPP). It can be combined with a reduction in the filing or examination fee provided for under the EPC (see Rule 6(3) to 6(7) EPC). It is paid into the proprietor's deposit account indicated on the request. In the absence of such a deposit account, it can be claimed online, asking for it to be credited to a bank account.