UPs will offer significantly streamlined enforcement, a single annual renewal fee and minimal translation requirements. However, UPs will also be vulnerable to central revocation throughout their lifetime, compared to the 9 month central opposition window that applies to classic European patents.
Selecting a UP also comes with a degree of uncertainty. Unitary Patents will fall within the exclusive competence of the Unified Patent Court, a new organisation, interpreting new legislation and developing new case law.
The risk versus reward for a UP also depends on the countries in which you wish to have patent protection. The cost saving provided by a UP compared to a traditional European patent is significant if you would have validated your European patent in all of the member states participating in the UPC. However, if you normally validate your European patent in a handful of countries (e.g. France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium), selecting a UP may even be more expensive than validating your European patent via the traditional route.
It is also possible to adopt a mixed strategy, by selecting a UP for some of the patents in your portfolio and following the traditional route for others. By filing a divisional application with a slightly different scope to that of the parent case, it may be possible to obtain both a Unitary Patent and a national patent for the same countries. Our advisors can help you make these decisions when the time comes.