Available data for the first 12 weeks of unitary patent activity indicate that requests for “unitary effect” were filed for roughly a quarter of all European patents granted; Italy is the fifth country globally for the number of unitary patents requested, while Germany tops the list.
The unitary patent is a new intellectual property right that became available on 1 June 2023 along with the Unified Patent Court; its “unitary” character endows it with uniform validity in almost all European Union countries (excluding Croatia, Poland and Spain).
In order to obtain a unitary patent it is necessary to apply for a European patent and to request, within one month after grant, the unitary effect to be applied to the granted patent.
The unitary patent falls under the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court. On the contrary, a European patent can, under certain conditions, be excluded from the jurisdiction of the new court, thus maintaining the jurisdiction of the national courts in all countries in which the patent itself is valid.
How popular is the unitary patent so far?
In the unitary patent’s first 12 weeks (data on 24 August 2023), the European Patent Office declares that it received 7486 requests for unitary effect, 7082 of which have already been granted.
It is possible to estimate that requests for unitary effect involved roughly 25% of the European patents granted in June and July 2023, although that percentage could rise slightly given that the deadline for requesting unitary effect expires one month after the grant of the underlying European patent.
Over time, however, the rate of unitary effect requests is expected to grow, considering the unitary patent’s very recent inauguration and that unitary effect requests already rose by about 30% from June to July 2023.
Italy ranks 5th for unitary patent applications
Top states of origin of applicants for unitary effect*:
United States 1041
Italy – Sweden (equal) 357
United Kingdom 337
Top technology areas in patents for which unitary effect has been requested*:
Infrastructure and Mechanics 20,5%
Materials and Production 19,4%
Electronics and Physics / Digital (equal) 11,5%
Mobility and Space Technologies 8,7%
* European Patent Office data on 24 August 2023.
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