Patent attorney Frederick Noble

A single patent for (some of) Europe

On 1st June 2023, something happened which has been a long time coming. The “European patent with unitary effect” became a reality. First mooted in the 1970s when the European Economic Community had just nine members, the number of false starts might have led some to believe that it would never happen.

But you can now get a single patent to protect an invention in seventeen EU member states (the remaining ten EU member states are not yet participating, but many of them may do so in the future).

Following Brexit of course, the UK is not one of those member states. However, that does not make the new unitary patent irrelevant to UK business. Far from it – in fact, the ability to get a single patent to cover most of central Europe, without touching the established order of things at home in the UK, might be a genuine opportunity to have our cake and eat it.

Any business exporting its goods or services needs to carefully consider intellectual property protection not only at home, but in key markets abroad.

The UK’s continued membership of the European Patent Convention and hence direct access to the European Patent Office puts UK businesses in a great position to take advantage of the new unitary patent and protect its exports to Europe.

The unitary patent is the newest of a number of international treaties and agreements which aim to harmonise and streamline protection of patents, trade marks, registered designs and other IP rights around the world.

At Albright IP we are very familiar with operating in all of these systems, and with national law in all the major markets around the world. If you have a question about protecting your overseas market, or want to find out more about the UPC please do get in touch.