Searching and retrieving Unitary Patent information
Focus on the European Patent Register
With the arrival of the Unitary Patent (UP) system, more UP-related data is becoming visible and searchable in the EPO’s patent information services. This is the third article in a series entitled “Searching and retrieving Unitary Patent information”. This article focuses on the European Patent Register.
Under Article 127 of the European Patent Convention, the European Patent Office must keep a European Patent Register, also known as the Register, which is an authoritative source of information.
Searching the European Patent Register for Unitary Patents
Since the UP system launched on 1 June 2023, it has been possible to search the European Patent Register to find European patents for which unitary effect has been requested or registered.
You can use either Smart search or Advanced search.
The Advanced search interface has two new search fields:
Unitary effect request date
Unitary effect registration date
And in Smart search you can use two new field identifiers:
ufd for unitary effect request date
urd for unitary effect registration date
The following section provides some examples. Note that it is not possible to search for Unitary Patents using date ranges. More search information is available in the May and June 2023 Register release notes and the Register Pocket Guide.
Using Advanced search
To search for patents for which unitary effect has been requested, but not yet registered:
Figure 1. Entries in the search fields Unitary effect request date and Unitary effect registration date in Advanced search.
To search for patents for which unitary effect was registered in June 2023:
Figure 2. Entry in the search field Unitary effect registration date in Advanced search.
To search for all Merck patents for which unitary effect has been registered:
Figure 3. Combination of entries in the Unitary effect registration date and Applicant(s)/Proprietor(s) fields in Advanced search.
Using Smart search
To search for Siemens patents granted in July 2023 for which unitary effect has been registered:
Figure 4. Entries in the Smart search field.
The Search results view in the Register now contains a Unitary Patent column. In it, a blue icon identifies patents for which unitary effect has been requested or registered. The dates of request and registration are also indicated. Selecting the blue icon takes you to the Unitary Patent Register, which is described below.
Figure 5. Search results view.
The Unitary Patent Register
The European Patent Register now also contains a new section called the Register for unitary patent protection, or Unitary Patent Register. It covers all entries required for Unitary Patents in accordance with Rule 16 of the Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection.
Figure 6. European procedure and Unitary Patent sections of the European Patent Register.
The UP About this file panel view contains bibliographic and procedural information and covers the registration of unitary effect and any limitation, licence, transfer, revocation or lapse of a Unitary Patent.
Within the UP About this file panel view, Unitary Patent Protection provides information about the unitary effect:
- date on which request for unitary effect was filed
- decision on the request for unitary effect, either positive or negative
- date of registration of unitary effect
- date of legal effect
Figure 7. Unitary Patent Protection information in the UP About this file panel view.
Note: the date of legal effect is the date of publication of the granted European patent in the European Patent Bulletin.
Also within the UP About this file panel view, Member States covered by Unitary Patent Protection lists the participating EU Member States at the date of registration of unitary effect. Currently a Unitary Patent registered by the EPO covers 17 EU Member States and additional ones may follow in future. Consequently, there will be different generations of Unitary Patents with different territorial coverage.
Figure 8. List of the participating EU Member States in the UP About this file panel view.
The UP Event history panel view displays all the UP events that a Unitary Patent has undergone. You can monitor these events using the Register Alert application.
The UP All documents panel view displays all publicly available documents in the file related to the unitary effect.
In the Unitary Patent Register a C0 marker next to the publication number signals those patents for which unitary effect has been registered.
Figure 9. The blue icon and C0 marker in the UP About this file panel view.
The C0 marker and the blue icon are always visible in the header of the UP About this file, UP Event history and UP All documents panel views. The C0 marker is also visible in the European procedure section, specifically in the EP Federated register and EP Patent family panel views.
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Keywords: Unitary Patent, European Patent Register