Translation arrangements and compensation scheme
After a transitional period, no translations will be required when opting for a Unitary Patent. During this transitional period of six years (which may be extended up to a maximum of 12 years), the patent proprietor will have to file one full translation of the European patent specification, namely:
- into English if the language of the proceedings before the EPO was French or German
- into any other official language of an EU member state if the language of the proceedings was English.
The translation must be filed together with the request for unitary effect. It is for information only and has no legal effect.
A translation of the claims into the EPO's other two official languages will already have been filed at the end of the grant procedure. This means that if one of those other two EPO languages is chosen for the translation, only the description will need to be additionally translated when filing the request for unitary effect; the translation of the claims can be re‑used.
Where the language of the proceedings is English and the patent proprietor chooses to file a translation of the specification into an official EU language other than French or German, it will often be possible to revert to an application filed with a national patent office and to adapt it.
After expiry of the transitional period, a translation will no longer be required to obtain a Unitary Patent.
A compensation scheme will cover the costs of translating the application in the pre-grant phase for SMEs, natural persons, non-profit organisations, universities and public research organisations.
To be eligible, these entities:
- must have their residence or principal place of business in an EU member state
- must have filed the European patent application or Euro-PCT application leading to the Unitary Patent in an official EU language other than English, French or German.
Compensation will be granted by the EPO's Unitary Patent Division. The request must be filed together with the request for unitary effect. The compensation - set at EUR 500 - complements the reduction in filing and examination fees already available when a European patent application and request for examination are filed in a language of an EPC contracting state other than English, French or German (Rule 6(3) EPC).