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The Unitary Patent System is launched on June 1, 2023, after the necessary ratification procedures of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) have been completed.
The European patent with unitary effect (also known as the unitary patent or UP) makes it possible to obtain patent protection in currently 17 EU member states with a single application. It differs significantly from the European patent (EP), which is also based on a unitary application, but must then be validated and maintained individually in each desired country. You can find out how the grant of a unitary patent works here.
The unitary patent system also results in serious changes for patent infringement actions in Europe: The newly created Unified Patent Court (UPC) has exclusive jurisdiction over questions of infringement and validity of unitary patents. Exceptions to the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC will apply during a transitional period of initially seven years. During this period, "classical" European patents (EPs) can, under certain conditions, be enforced either before the UPC or - as previously - before the national courts. The Unified Patent Court is a two-instance court created solely for patent disputes. In addition to a central chamber with seats in Paris and Munich, it has a large number of local chambers distributed across the member states, as well as a court of appeal in Luxembourg. Among the member states, Germany has the most local chambers, situated in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich and Mannheim.
Under which circumstances you should use the option "unitary patent" for future patent applications and how you should deal with already granted European patents (opt-out - yes or no?), we have summarized for you in this action plan.