A unitary patent provides more affordable protection for those looking to protect their invention across as much of Europe as possible. The unitary patent will cover at least 13 EU countries and ultimately 25 countries when all have ratified. The cost of validating the EP as a unitary patent will be significantly lower than validating the EP in a large number of countries in the traditional way, because only a single translation will be required. Additionally the renewal fees for a UP will be equivalent to the total cost of renewal fees in UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands (the “true top four”). The need to pay only a single renewal fee also reduces the administrative burden (compared with paying renewal fees to each of the national offices).
Stopping some types of cross border activity can be complex using nationally validated European patents and is often only possible in the court of one of the countries involved. Examples of such activity include processes where a first step of a process claim is conducted in a first country, and a second step is performed in a second country, and systems where a different components of a system claim are sited in different countries. The single jurisdiction of a Unitary Patent means that such cross-border activities within multiple participating member states will be regarded as a single infringing act and a patentee will often have a choice of in which Local/Regional Division of the UPC to bring an infringement action.
For nationally validated European patents there is a risk that the possibility of bringing an action for infringement at the UPC will be excluded due to national proceedings having been commenced in a national court. No such risk exists for a unitary patent because only the UPC has jurisdiction.
For more information please contact Martin Jackson