A changed landscape for patents in Europe
Patents have long been a key tool in the armoury for protecting innovation, but a challenge for those who trade across borders is that patent rights have historically been enforced on a country-by-country basis, meaning that cross-border enforcement is complex and expensive. This has been true in Europe even after the introduction some decades ago of the European Patent Office (EPO), which provides a central process for the grant of patents for all EU states and a range of others, including the UK.
The introduction of the Unitary Patent (UP) and Unified Patent Court (UPC) on 1 June 2023 has fundamentally changed this landscape, providing the option to centrally litigate patent rights across the participating countries (initially 17 countries, including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) in a single action. This represents the biggest shake up of the international patent system in decades, marking the culmination of many years of attempts at harmonisation.
What is changing if I am looking to protect my invention? Read more