Paul Chapman, Head of Legal Practice, considers the new Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

The Unitary Patent is a new IP system for Europe, with simplified validations, far fewer translations and therefore lower costs at both grant and post grant stage.

Operational in 2017, the Unitary Patent covers 26 of the 28 EU countries in one hit.

Downstream savings with the Unitary Patent are significant due to a single renewal fee. Therefore, instead of national validations applicants can opt for the single Unitary Patent.

The Unitary Patent will be supported by the new Unified Patent Court. This court is common to the participating states and has courts of first instance located in London, Paris and Munich.

The Unified Patent Court offers a one stop shop for trials and appeals, but with markedly lower costs.

The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court will both be operational in 2017, and it is anticipated that there will be a 7-year transition period.

Unitary Patent designation and opt-out is free. National patents will continue but applicants may wish to opt for the UP and benefit from the considerable cost and administrative savings. There may be some instances where it could be tactical not use the UP or UPC. However, Avidity can advise clients on strategically important patents during the early days of the new system, and we will be sharing information on the new UPC costs as soon as the detail becomes available.