Unitary patent dashboard shows ‘encouraging demand’

Nine weeks in and figures reveal the UP is proving popular with roughly 700 requests a week

German city of Munich, the headquarters of the EPO Shutterstock

The European Patent Office (EPO) is receiving roughly 700 requests a week for the new unitary patent (UP), according to a new dashboard.

As of today (3 August), 5,744 UPs had been registered and 5,852 requests for unitary effect received. The EPO described the demand for UPs as “encouraging”.

The European patent with unitary effect – or the unitary patent for short – along with its corresponding Unified Patent Court, went live in June after a long and controversial gestation.

The patent provides protection across all participating EU member states (currently standing at 17 but expected to increase) by way of a single patent application filed with the EPO in Munich.

The dashboard, which was launched by the EPO last week, is fed with daily updates from its own internal workforce, and filters numbers by: the eight broad technology sectors in which these patents are classified; where the patent owners originate from; and the language in which their European patents were published and subsequently translated. 

After translation, 70% of procedures are in English, nearly 23% are in German and the remainder are in French. The most popular technology sector patents relate to is infrastructure and technology (1,216 requests), followed by materials and production (1,127) and then health at 1,114.

As of 3 August, the most requests came from Germany (1,151), followed by the US (834), France (451), Sweden at 291 and China (281), with the UK coming in at 269.

EPO president Antonio Campinos said: “This dashboard will create transparency through relevant information on how the take-up of the Unitary Patent is evolving. It covers relevant parameters for users to gain a comprehensive overview of the attractiveness of the Unitary Patent to innovating businesses from around the globe.”

On 27 July, 21 new technically qualified judges were appointed to the UPC. Before taking up their duties, the UPC website notes, they shall take an oath in open court.

The EPO points out that the UP offers lower cost overheads, as well as less administration thanks to a single entry in the European Patent Register and a “business-friendly” single annual renewal fee payable to the EPO.

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