EU Unitary Patent System in force since June 2023

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More than 27,000 patents registered in the first year

The Unitary Patent, which was introduced in June 2023, plays a crucial role in completing Europe's Single Market for patents and has become a game-changer for the EU's innovation and competitiveness. 

The system simplifies the protection of companies' innovations by offering a one-stop shop for obtaining and enforcing patents in Europe. The result is that companies can save money and reduce paperwork and administrative burden. The creation of the Unified Patent Court also makes patent litigation less burdensome and expensive while providing increased legal certainty.

  • More than 27,000 unitary patents have been registered by the European Patent Office (EPO) in the first year of implementing the Unitary Patent system.

  • This means that on average, almost one in four (23%) granted European patents apply across all participating Member States.

  • This rate is also steadily increasing. The uptake rate reaches almost 50% among applicants established in Denmark and Poland, and about 40% in Spain. Most patents are awarded for medical technology (31%), civil engineering (6%) and transport (5%). 

Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market: "Patents are essential for European innovation and competitiveness. The new Unitary Patent system provides a one-stop shop for the registration of patents in Europe, making patent protection stronger, simpler and less expensive – to the benefit of all companies, in particular SMEs".

Currently 17 EU Member States participate in the Unitary Patent system, representing about three quarters of the EU's GDP. The system is also open to other Member States. Soon, Romania will become the 18th participating member.

How to register

  • To obtain a unitary patent, an applicant first applies for a European patent according to the usual rules and procedures of the European Patent Office (EPO).

  • Then, once the European patent is granted, the patent holder may request the EPO to attribute unitary effect to that patent, within one month from the grant, resulting in a unitary patent applying in all the participating Member States without any additional validation requirements.

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