Will a Unitary Patent be my only option?

No. A UP is to be offered in addition to the current patent systems available within Europe.

 It will still be possible for patentees to choose to validate an EP in individual European countries. However, if you do select a UP, it will still be necessary to "top up" your UP to cover territories outside the UP system in order to get the same coverage as offered by "classical" EPs. This will result in a mixture of potentially any combination of three options for patent cover in the EU:

  1. European patent with unitary effect 
  2. National patents 
  3. Classical European patents granted in your choice of country.

It is important to note that all UPs and EPs that have not been opted out will be subject to the UPC and central litigation and revocation; only national patents will be outside the UPC jurisdiction. After the transitional period it will not be possible to opt out classical EPs to avoid the UPC.

To read further about the countries covered by both systems, click here.

UP Countries* EP Countries not covered by a UP** Countries that could become part of the UP system in future***
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, UK Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey Poland++ Spain
*initially may apply to as few as 13 countries that ratify, but must include UK, France and Germany
**these countries must become part of the EU and then accede to the UP Regulation (Croatia joined the EU in July 2013)
***these countries are already part of the EU but have opted out of the UP system
++Poland may become part of the UP at a later date, currently not signatory to the UPC Agreement