EU single market for patents: unitary patent system in place

Ufficio europeo brevetti

From today, 1 June 2023, the unitary patent system comes into force in the EU: this will allow companies to protect their innovations in Europe and take advantage of their intellectual property in a simpler and easier way. The unitary patent system will strengthen EU innovation and competitiveness, thus completing the single patent market. At first, it will affect 17 Member States (about 80% of EU GDP), but in the future the participation will be extended to other Member States.

The unitary patent system is a one-stop shop for the registration and enforcement of patents in Europe; it will reduce costs, bureaucracy and the administrative burden on innovators, SMEs in particular. It also allows companies and other innovators to obtain a single "unitary" patent for their inventions, one valid in all participating Member States. It thus replaces the complex mosaic of national patent laws and procedures, putting an end to the more expensive validation requirements for European patents.

A new unified patent court, with jurisdiction for existing unitary and European patents, will also enable companies to enforce their patent rights more effectively. The new unified court will provide a more coherent legal framework for patent disputes and reduce the risk of contradictory decisions. In practice, a single action before this court will replace several parallel proceedings before national courts.