Industrial Property Office

Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

Information on the European patent with unitary effect and the Unified patent court
25 European Union Member States including the Czech Republic signed an Agreement on a Unified Patent Court in the margins of the Competitiveness Council on 19 February 2013. More information is available on: and on

The European Union is closer to the introduction of the patent with unitary effect (the unitary patent) and the creation of a unified patent judicial system. The European Parliament and the Council supported on December 2012 the so called "patent package" and adopted two regulations, which are part of it.

The patent package consists of three parts:

a) Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection1 (pdf, 758 kB). Regulation uses the already existing system of granting European patents under the European Patent Convention of 1973. The European Patent Office having its headquarters in Munich grants European patents for the individual Member States of the European Patent Organization according to the choice of the applicant. Granted European patent has the same effect as a national patent in the designated State. The condition is that the patent proprietor has to validate a patent after its granting, i.e. he provides translation of a patent file into an official language of this State to the industrial property offices of designated States and he pays the prescribed fee. The exception is the Member States that acceded to the so-called London agreement and do not require full translations. The proprietor pays the annual renewal fees in each State separately for the maintenance of a European patent. New regulation will provide to the proprietors of patents the opportunity within one month after the grant of a European patent to file with the European Patent Office the request for a unitary effect in all EU Member States except Spain and Croatia, which has not been involved in this mode. The main feature of the unitary patent is its unitary character. It provides unitary protection and has the same effect in each of the participating Member States. As a result, the unitary patent may only be limited, transferred or revoked in respect of all the participating Member States. The maintenance of patents in force will simplify, because the proprietors of patents with a unitary effect will pay a single annual renewal fee to the European Patent Office.

b) Council Regulation (EU) No 1260/2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements2 (pdf, 978 kB). According to the regulation, a patent will be granted in one of the official languages of the EPO (English, French, German) and in addition patent claims will be published in the remaining two languages. The machine translations of granted patents in all official EU languages will be also available. In the event of a dispute, the patent proprietor at its own expense shall provide a translation of the patent in the official language of the EU State in which the infringer has a domicile or place of business or in the language of the EU State in which the infringement took the place, and in the official language of the State where the seat of the competent court is.

c) The Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (pdf, 1,9 MB) creates a special judicial system for dealing with disputes of infringement of European patents and patents with a unitary effect. The system will consist of courts of first instance (central, regional and local divisions) and one common Court of Appeal. The central division will have its seat in Paris with sections in London and Munich. Member States have the possibility to create their local division or several States can agree on a common regional division. The Court will hear infringement disputes and proposals on revocation of European patents and patents with a unitary effect and to supplementary protection certificates issued for products protected by such patents. The Court of Appeal will have its seat in Luxembourg. A new judicial system will facilitate a litigation of European patents. Until now, in the case of infringement the proprietor of a European patent had to litigate in each State where the patent infringement has occurred. The new system will provide him the opportunity to pursue his rights in a unified court at once.
The UPC agreement was signed by the 25 EU Member States, including the Czech Republic in the margins of the Competitiveness Council on 19 February 2013.
The UPC agreement and both above mentioned regulations, i.e. the entire patent package will take effect on the territory of the States concerned depending on the development of the UPC agreement ratification process. The unitary patent will cover the territories of those States that have ratified the UPC Agreement.
The ratification of the UPC agreement in at least 13 States, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom is a condition of the entry into force of the patent package. The unitary effect will be further expanded on other territories as the ratification process of particular states will end. The unitary effect for the state concerned will take effect on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of its instrument of ratification or accession.
The declared objective, namely the possibility of obtaining a patent for an invention in the relevant European countries more easily and more cheaply, which applies not only to domestic enterprises, but also for the applicant from other countries, including for example the United States, Russia or China should be achieved by the introduction of the patent with unitary effect.
The level of the renewal fees for a European patent with unitary effect was approved at a meeting of the Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation in July 2015.

The scale of renewal fees for a European patent with unitary effect:

for the 2nd year 35
for the 3rd year 105
for the 4th year 145
for the 5th year 315
for the 6th year 475
for the 7th year 630
for the 8th year 815
for the 9th year 990
for the 10th year 1175
for the 11th year 1460
for the 12th year 1775
for the 13th year 2015
for the 14th year 2455
for the 15th year 2830
for the 16th year 3240
for the 17th year 3640
for the 18th year 4055
for the 19th year 4455
for the 20th year 4855

Additional fee for belated payment of a renewal fee is 50%of the belated renewal fee.

1OJ L 361, 31. 12. 2012, p. 1.
2OJ 361, 31. 12. 2012, p. 89.

Last modified on – 2016-11-11 12:36