European Unitary Patent to be launched in April 2023

Nearly a quarter-century in the making, the European unitary patent system will likely finally be launched on 1 April 2023. The unitary patent intends to protect intellectual property rights across all 25 participating EU countries in one move. With Germany approving the creation of a unified patent court, the decades-old plan can soon be put into practice.

After negotiating for decades, 25 EU countries decided to introduce a European patent with a unitary effect through a procedure of close cooperation. Currently, anyone seeking an invention patent must go through a separate procedure in each country or apply for a European patent that must then be validated in all countries separately. Except for in Spain and Croatia, this procedural hassle will soon come to an end in Europe.

More than a decade after Europe reached an agreement around the issue, the system is set to launch in earnest next spring. Germany recently ratified the establishment of the patent court tied to the agreement, which removed the last obstacle standing in the way of implementation. The European patent court will be responsible for settling disputes.

Initially, the unitary patent system will only apply in 17 countries, but more countries are expected to join in the coming years. The early adopters include Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. 

Antonio Campinos, president of the European Patent Office (EPO), called Germany's breakthrough approval a "historic moment" on Thursday. "The new unitary patent will benefit any company with a good idea," says Campinos. "But it will be particularly attractive to smaller companies, primarily the growing SME sector. More than 23 million companies are operating in this sector, representing 56 per cent of the European economy, but they apply for only 20 per cent of all patents at the EPO."

According to Campino, research shows that SMEs that protect their intellectual property through patents generate over 68 per cent more turnover per employee than those that do not. Transitional measures will come into force from January 2023, allowing interested parties to apply for a unitary patent early.






Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels