Europe embarks on a new era of patent protection
1 June marks an historic day for patent protection in Europe with the entry into operation of the much anticipated Unitary Patent system. The launch represents the most significant development in the European patent landscape since the signing of the European Patent Convention 50 years ago.
The Unitary Patent system brings a host of substantial improvements for users everywhere, including cost reductions, streamlined procedures, increased transparency, and enhanced legal certainty.
Starting 1 June, users can apply for a single patent through a single procedure, subject to a single renewal fee in a single currency, and litigate under a single legal system before the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UPC, which also commences its operations today, makes a centralised enforcement system for patents a reality, and allows users to file cases at the European level.
So far, seventeen states - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden - have joined, with eight additional EU member states expected to participate in the future. These economies generate an estimated combined GDP of more than EUR 12 trillion - or almost 80% of the entire EU's GDP - and incorporate a population of nearly 300 million people. The new patent regime further solidifies European's standing as a critical global market for innovation and investment.
Speaking on this momentous occasion, EPO President António Campinos said, "This day heralds a new dawn for patents and innovation in Europe. It is a time when users can look forward to a more accessible form of patent protection that will deliver growth for our businesses and economies, and help our inventors to deliver sustainable solutions to tackle the great challenges of our day. But this achievement wouldn't have been possible without the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of exceptional experts, political representatives, patent system users everywhere, and, of course, the remarkable work of the EPO staff, among many others. The European Patent Office has been entrusted with administering the Unitary Patent by the member states, and together with our stakeholders, we're going to make it another success for Europe."
Follow the launch day online
To celebrate this milestone, the EPO is hosting the hybrid event, "Welcoming the Unitary Patent System - A new era for innovation in Europe", on 1 June at 15.00 hrs CEST that can be followed online. The celebration brings together key stakeholders and features distinguished speakers, including the EPO President António Campinos, Gunnar Strömmer, Swedish Minister for Justice representing the EU Council Presidency, Éric Dupond-Moretti, French Minister of Justice, Franz Fayot, Luxembourg Minister of Economy, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market and President of the Court of Appeal of the UPC, Dr Klaus Grabinski.
This event is open to all without the need to register beforehand.