European Patent Office hosts special event celebrating launch of Unitary Patent system

EPO president speaking at the event celebrating launch of Unitary Patent system

On 1 June 2023, the Unitary Patent system entered into force across 17 EU Member States, signifying the single most important development in European patent history since the signing of the European Patent Convention on 5 October 1973, nearly fifty years ago. The new system brings a host of substantial improvements for users everywhere, including cost reductions, streamlined procedures, increased transparency and enhanced legal certainty. To mark this momentous occasion at its headquarters in Munich, the European Patent Office (EPO) organised a special hybrid event, entitled Welcoming the Unitary Patent System: A new era for innovation in Europe.

In his opening remarks, EPO President António Campinos underscored the vision, dedication and tireless efforts of all stakeholders involved in implementing the Unitary Patent system, while also highlighting the European patent regime as a key driver of innovation, with pre-eminent standing among innovators globally. "This new era is exactly what Europe needs right now," he said. "Because the patent system is at the core of bringing us technological breakthrough after breakthrough, providing the incentive for research, and the investment required to develop technologies."

Among the event's many high-profile speakers, Swedish Minister for Justice Gunnar Strömmer represented the EU Council Presidency. He celebrated the system's entry into force as a win for Europe that demonstrates Europeans' ability to collaborate and transcend national borders for a common goal. Looking at the Unitary Patent from a legal and business perspective, French Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti highlighted the benefits of legal certainty for both innovators and the broader public. These sentiments were echoed by Luxembourg's Minister of Economy Franz Fayot, who underlined the half-century of hard work and commitment that went into making the Unitary Patent system a reality. He also noted the system's role in helping to realise Europe's full potential in green and digital technologies. EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton spoke on the benefits that the new system will afford Europe in the global economy and urged stakeholders to build further on the collaboration and engagement seen to date.

Klaus Grabinski, President of the Court of Appeal of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), applauded the foresight of everyone who had envisaged and committed to a patent regime with unitary effect, ever since it was outlined in Article 142 of the European Patent Convention. Finally, Margot Fröhlinger was celebrated for her visionary work and outstanding accomplishments in breathing life into the Unitary Patent system, initially while at the European Commission's Directorate General for the Internal Market and then as former Principal Director for Patent Law and Multilateral Affairs at the EPO.

The entry into force of the Unitary Patent system was hailed at the event as a shining example of European collaboration and the hope was expressed that all EU Member States would join in time. The hybrid celebration was streamed live and drew more than 5000 viewers online. A recording is available via the link below.