After years of discussion, there will soon be a new patent application option which streamlines the process for those seeking patents in multiple European countries. The European patent with unitary effect (unitary patent) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are set to launch around June 1. While the traditional approach has involved engaging local attorneys for different European states and paying for respective fees for each region, electing a unitary patent eliminates validation costs and may reduce annuity fees.
Panitch Schwarze attorney Ragi A.I. Elias recently authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer outlining this new approach and the advantages it may have for applicants. He explains that while the traditional European patent prosecution process will be maintained, applicants will now have the option to ask for unitary effect in the participating states and also validate in other nonparticipating European Patent Convention states. The UPC will serve as a central patent court for patent disputes in Europe.
Elias compares the traditional approach with the unitary patent process, noting that this new option will be significantly cheaper in many cases but may not be advantageous if only specific jurisdictions are of interest. He also examines the inherent uncertainty that comes with the UPC as a new entity and various factors to consider as applicants navigate this changing landscape.
Read the full article here: “The European Patent With Unitary Effect and the Unified Patent Court” (Subscription is required.)