The European Patent with unitary effect (Unitary Patent) – will be a European patent (with the same set of claims in respect of all the participating member states) granted by the EPO, but for which, on the request of the applicant, unitary effect is given for the territory of the 25 participating European Union (EU) member states. The Unitary Patent will have a unitary character- it will provide uniform protection and will have equal effect in all participating member states.
The Unitary Patent will be achieved by two separate regulations and one agreement; together these three separate pieces of legislation will form the Unitary Patent package. The Unitary Patent is the first piece of the Unitary Patent package. It will be established by two Regulations (Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of Unitary Patent protection and Regulation (EU) No 1260/2012 of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of Unitary Patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements) which entered into force on 20 January 2013 and which will be applicable from 1 January 2014 or the date of the entry into force of theAgreement on a Unified Patent Court, whichever is later. Agreement on the Unified Patent Court – which is the second piece of the Unitary Patent package –was signed on 19 February 2013 and will enter in force on 1 January 2014 or the first day of the fourth month after 13 contracting states, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom ratify it.
Unified Patent Court (UPC)- will be specialised patent court with exclusive jurisdiction for litigation relating to European patents with unitary effect (Unitary patents), also to non Unitary patents (traditional European patents), which are currently granted by EPO. Rulings by the UPC with respect to the traditional European patents will only apply in participating member EU states.