Unitary Patent Package

Europe is close to a drastic improvement of the patent system. To summarise: the old ‘bundles’ with patents in separate European states are being supplemented with one uniform patent which is valid in all EU member states participating in the Unitary Patent project. The Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) will also set up a new centralized court tasked with hearing patent cases for both the new Unitary Patents and traditional ‘bundle’ EP patents.

Current status and key facts

The Unitary Patent Package will become effective after 13 EU member states, including the three big ones; France, the UK and Germany, have ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement. As of now, eleven states have already ratified and several more are in the process of doing so.


Currently we are waiting for Germany and the UK to ratify the Agreement. Obviously, Brexit negotiations in the UK have had an influence on the UK’s ratification process and the UK’s intention to leave the European Union has caused delays and uncertainty regarding UK participation in the project. In Germany, a legal challenge has been mounted that has delayed German ratification of the UPCA.


Despite the delays, it is expected that the UK and Germany will ratify the Agreement this year. Three months after both countries have ratified it, the Agreement will take effect. Then, it will be possible to obtain Unitary Patents and bring litigation cases before the Unified Patent Court (UPC). An overview of the key facts of the Unitary Patent Package is given here.

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What about your patent strategy?

The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court will offer great potential, but as always caution and care are key. Owners of European patents, (as opposed to Unitary Patents), will have the option of registering an opt-out, to remove their European patent from the competence of the UPC for the whole life of that patent. Our specialists at NLO will help you navigate the new system and optimise your strategy for both new applications and your existing portfolio.

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The Unitary Patent in practice

A Unitary Patent will provide a patent with unitary effect across all participating states. The system will supplement the current European patent system and will be managed by the European Patent Office.

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The Unified Patent Court (UPC) in practice

Judgments of the UPC will be directly enforceable throughout all participating states. The UPC is being set up as a new organisation that will have local divisions throughout the participating member states.

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Intellectual Property: Cases

Intellectual Property is a valuable asset. From start-up to market leader, applying a smart strategy for patents, trademarks and/or designs adds value to every company. Examples of such successful IP strategies can be found at our page ‘Cases’. Read more