Romania to Join Unitary Patent System

Unified Patent Court

The Unitary Patent system has completed Europe’s single market for technology. One year after its launch, over 29,100 requests for unitary effect have been filed, and the EPO has registered more than 28,300 Unitary Patents. This means nearly one in four granted European patents has been converted into a Unitary Patent.

The First Year of the Unitary Patent

The Unitary Patent system provides several benefits, including lower costs, a simpler process, uniform protection, and more legal certainty. Inventors can handle everything—apply for patents, pay renewal fees and register transactions such as license grants—through the EPO as a central one-stop shop. This eliminates the need to deal with several national procedures at the same time. Small and medium-sized enterprises are reaping the benefits of a simple and streamlined process in obtaining the Unitary Patent.

The new Unified Patent Court (UPC) has already handled hundreds of cases. The consistency of the UPC’s decisions is essential to create legal certainty and transparency within the new system. This will give applicants the predictability they need for their investments.

From EPO‘s Unitary Patent Statistics Centre

The system saw strong adoption in Europe, with 65.7% of Unitary Patent holders based in the EPO’s 39 contracting states. US holders account for 15.7%, China 5.6%, Japan 3.9%, and the Republic of Korea 2.9%. Small and medium-sized companies and individuals also showed significant interest, with 35.5% of all Unitary Patents in Europe in 2023 alone.

Large innovative enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises, and public research organizations and universities have all quickly realized that the Unitary Patent can significantly reduce costs and administrative tasks.

The UPC offers broad territorial coverage across 17 EU Member States and will include Romania in September, making it the 18th Member State. Moreover, companies may have to litigate in all countries where their European patent is validated. The complex and expensive litigation in multiple countries raises the uncertainty of legality.

Based on the news on June 5, 2024 from EPO. Romania will join the Unitary Patent system with effect from September 1st, 2024. All European patents will automatically cover Romania from September 1st. Applicants with a European patent application in the allowance or grant stage, who wish to delay proceeding with registration in order to cover Romania in September.

Towards this, the EPO has issued a notice indicating that the EPO will accept the request for a delay of the registration of unitary effect from the date of the notice.

From EPO‘s Unitary Patent Statistics Centre

The 35 technology fields (IPC) are defined by WIPO, which indicates that the medical technology field is the top one filed. 12% of requests received for European patents granted in 2024. Civil engineering is the second largest field with 5.7% of requests to European patent applications.

From EPO‘s Unitary Patent Statistics Centre

The graphic shows that the top three procedural languages are English 21,491(73.8%), DE 5,899(20.3%), and FR 1,734(6%). The top three languages subsequently translated for European patents are ES 8,740(30%), EN 7,624(26.2%), and DE 6,220(21.4%).

As of June 1, 2023, when the Unitary Patent system was launched, the following 17 EU Member States had ratified the UPCA and are therefore covered by a Unitary Patent (“first Unitary Patent generation”): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden. The Second Unitary Patent generation will cover the territory of 18 Member States as well as Romania.

The Unitary Patent system represents a significant step forward in streamlining intellectual property protection across the European Union. The increasing use of both the Unitary Patent and the UPC shows that the Unitary Patent system is a reliable and effective tool for the internal technology market and a promising driver for further innovation in Europe.

It makes the European patent system less fragmentation and lowers the costs of obtaining patent protection in European Member States.

With the UPC having been in effect for a year now, it is crucial to understand the impact of the UP system and update your existing patent strategy. If you would like to know more about the UP system and patent strategy. Feel free to contact us and we will be happy to support you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top