How to obtain a Unitary Patent (UP)
The application process for UPs is exactly the same as for classical EP patents. At the time of grant the applicant may request unitary protection in regard to UPC countries instead of classical validation in each country separately. From June 1, 2023, this will also be possible with EP applications already pending when the new system starts.
The UP request needs to be accompanied by a translation of the patent into a second language. Future annuity fees are to be made to the EPO in an amount equalling the combined fees of the Top 4 most popular validation jurisdictions.
An intuitive understanding of the process.
With respect to non-UPC EPC countries, the applicant could proceed in the classical manner by validating the patent in any further country of interest.
Jurisdiction for UPs is exclusively with the UPC. Jurisdiction for classical EP patents (with respect to UPC countries) will also be with the UPC. However, during a transitional period of 7 years, jurisdiction is also with the competent national courts, resulting in a dual jurisdiction.
Applicants may avoid jurisdiction of the UPC for classical EP patents by declaring “opt-out”.