Review of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court


Since its launch in June 2023, the Unitary Patent (UP) has gained popularity, with confidence in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) growing thanks to increased legal certainty provided by developing case law.

What is the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court?

The UPC handles infringement and validity matters related to UPs. It also has exclusive jurisdiction over European patents, European patent applications, and supplementary protection certificates, unless an opt-out has been filed before litigation begins.

Current coverage and future expansion

The UP/UPC system currently includes 17 EU member states, with Romania set to join from 1 September 2024. All UPs based on European patents granted from that date onwards will automatically cover Romania. The European Patent Office (EPO) is now accepting requests to delay the registration of unitary effect, providing for businesses to include Romania in their UP coverage.

How ip21 can help

At ip21, we assist clients with securing UPs by validating European patents once they are granted, as well as UPC litigation subsequently. We can help you decide if validating a UP is more beneficial than the traditional method of validating in specific countries. Our commercially-focussed advice considers territorial scope, renewal fees, translation costs, and litigation expenses, to help you form an effective IP strategy.

Our European Patent Attorneys possess the technical and legal expertise needed to secure patent protection before the EPO. In the first year, the EPO received 28,450 requests for unitary effect, registering nearly 27,700 UPs. The EPO reports that almost one in four granted European patents has been converted into a UP.

Alternatively, patentees can stick with the traditional method of validating a European patent in selected countries, which is still available for non-participating countries like the UK. We can file an opt-out request for patentees who want to avoid the risk of central revocation at the UPC.

Contact Us

If you’d like to discuss strategies for protecting your innovation across Europe, please get in touch.


Written by Mark Saunders for ip21 Ltd