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Unitary patent protects at once in 17 European countries

This information is provided by Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Effective date: 1 June 2023

What changes?

Do you want to protect your innovation with a patent? The European patent system will be modernised with the introduction of the unitary patent. With a single application, you can protect the ownership of your innovation and enforce it in 17 EU countries through the European patent court in The Hague. This will make patent protection easier, faster, and cheaper.

The unitary patent is a new option in addition to the existing European patent. After granting your European patent application, you can choose:

  1. a European patent for countries you choose; or
  2. a unitary patent for 17 European member countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden.

For countries that have not (yet) joined the unitary patent, the current situation remains. Therefore, you should consider if you need to supplement the unitary patent with national registrations for countries that have not (yet) joined, for example Spain or the UK.

New patent court

There will also be a new patent court, the Unified Patent Court (UPC). A local division will be set up in the Hague, in the The Hague Hearing Centre. You can litigate European (patent) infringement and nullification cases here in both Dutch and English. It will be possible to enforce your patent right in participating EU countries in 1 procedure through the patent court UPC.

For whom?

  • entrepreneurs who want to protect their innovation with a patent


This change will be effective on 1 June 2023.

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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