Two EU regulations provide the legal framework for the Unitary Patent system:
As some EU Member States did not want to participate in the Unitary Patent project, the Council of Ministers of the EU – having heard the European Parliament – decided in March 2011 to authorise a group of Member States to implement "enhanced co-operation" in the area of Unitary Patent Protection under Article 20 of the Treaty on the European Union. Currently, all EU Member States except Croatia and Spain are participating in this enhanced co-operation. Following their adoption by the European Parliament and the Council in December 2012, the two EU regulations entered into force on 20 January 2013. However, they will only apply from the date of entry into force of the UPC Agreement.
Soon after the EU regulations on the Unitary Patent system were adopted, the participating Member States set up a Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, in accordance with Article 145 EPC, to prepare for the system's implementation at the EPO. In December 2015, the Select Committee adopted the necessary secondary legislation, in particular:
The Select Committee also adopted the Budgetary and Financial Rules (OJ EPO 2016, A41) that set out the provisions applicable to managing the income and costs related to Unitary Patents.