The Unitary Patent
What is a Unitary Patent?
A "unitary patent" or "European patent with unitary effect" (UP) is a proposed patent offering uniform protection within the territory of at least 13 of the 25 participating Member States of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy*, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, UK. Notably, Poland** and Spain are not participating. A unitary patent will be granted by the European Patent Office and follow the same search and examination procedure as current European patents. Applicants will be able to select a unitary patent at the grant stage.
*Italy joined the Unitary Patent in September 2015
**Poland may become part of the UP at a later date, currently not signatory to the UPC Agreement
In order to give full effect to the UP regulation, there is additional legislation regarding language and the setup of a single and specialised European court with patent jurisdiction - the "Unified Patent Court".