The launch represents the most significant development in the European patent landscape since the signing of the European Patent Convention 50 years ago.
The Unitary Patent System brings a host of substantial improvements for users everywhere, including cost reductions, streamlined procedures, increased transparency, and enhanced legal certainty.
Speaking on the occasion of the launch, European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos said: “This day heralds a new dawn for patents and innovation in Europe. It is a time when users can look forward to a more accessible form of patent protection that will deliver growth for our businesses and economies, and help our inventors to deliver sustainable solutions to tackle the great challenges of our day.”
Starting 1 June, users can apply for a single patent through a single procedure, subject to a single renewal fee in a single currency, and litigate under a single legal system before the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UPC, which also commences its operations today, makes a centralised enforcement system for patents a reality, and allows users to file cases at the European level.
Today is a game-changer for innovation in Europe.— European Commission (@EU_Commission) June 1, 2023
With the launch of the Unitary Patent system, innovators will have a one-stop shop for the registration and enforcement of patents in Europe.
This means lower costs, less paperwork, and reduced red tape ↓#UnitaryPatent
So far, seventeen states – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden – have joined, with eight additional EU member states expected to participate in the future.
These economies generate an estimated combined GDP of more than EUR 12 trillion – or almost 80% of the entire European Union’s GDP – and incorporate a population of nearly 300 million people. The new patent regime further solidifies European’s standing as a critical global market for innovation and investment.
“This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of exceptional experts, political representatives, patent system users everywhere, and, of course, the remarkable work of the EPO staff, among many others. The EPO has been entrusted with administering the Unitary Patent by the member states, and together with our stakeholders, we’re going to make it another success for Europe,” Campinos added.