​​A successful start for the Unitary Patent

The Unitary Patent system has seen a successful start, completing Europe’s single market for technology. One year on from the system’s launch, over 28 000 requests for unitary effect have been filed and the EPO has registered more than 27 500 Unitary Patents. This means that almost one in four granted European patents has been converted into a Unitary Patent.  

There was a particularly strong uptake of the new system in Europe, with 64.2% of the proprietors of Unitary Patents based in the EPO’s 39 contracting states. Proprietors based in the US accounted for 16.1%, China for 6.0%, Japan for 3.8% and the Republic of Korea for 3.3%. Smaller European companies and startups showed high interest, with 35.5% of all Unitary Patents in Europe in 2023 alone. 

"Innovative companies, large and small, as well as universities and public research organisations are keenly aware of the significantly lower costs and administrative simplification brought by the Unitary Patent, which offers broad territorial coverage across 17 EU Member States at present and potentially all EU Member States in the future. These improvements particularly benefit micro-entities, startups and academic institutions in Europe," explained EPO President António Campinos. "Legally robust, high-quality patents are crucial for the growth of these patentees and significantly increase their attractiveness to investors. At the European Patent Office, we will continue to do everything we can to enable technology firms to protect their intangible assets, raise awareness of the benefits of the Unitary Patent and further promote European economic integration.”   

Unified Patent Court 

The newly created Unified Patent Court (UPC) has received hundreds of cases so far. The harmonisation effect of the UPC's jurisprudence is crucial for establishing legal certainty and transparency within the new system, and provides users much needed predictability for their investments. 

“Happy first birthday, Unitary Patent system!”

The Unitary Patent has become a reality thanks to a major collective effort over the last five decades, with determination shown by many stakeholders across the patent system, as well as within the EPO itself. We can all take great pride that the vision of the founders of the European Patent Convention is being realised with such a high degree of success.

To celebrate the first year of the Unitary Patent, representatives from across the European Union and the institutions involved in making the system a success have recorded statements in a short video. They include EPO President António Campinos; Klaus Grabinski, President of the Unified Patent Court’s Court of Appeal; Jérôme Debrulle, Chairperson of the Select Committee, Administrative Council; Dr Angelika Niebler, MEP; Michiel Scheffer, President of the Board, European Innovation Council; and Margot Fröhlinger, Former Principal Director, Unitary Patent and European and International Legal Affairs.  

The growing utilisation of both the Unitary Patent and UPC demonstrates that the Unitary Patent system is a reliable and effective instrument for the internal technology market and a promising tool for further innovation in Europe.