There are some vital limitations to consider when it comes to the geographical scope of the new Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court.

The system will not in fact extend to the whole of the EU, and the list of states that participate will change over time as new countries join in.

As things stand, the new system will initially cover the following seventeen states:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden.

In time, the system may extend further to cover the following additional EU states:

Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia.

Until these countries formally ratify the relevant legislation at their national parliaments, patents can only be obtained via “classic” European Patents which are subject to existing local validation requirements, or of course as separate national patent filings.

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that these lists do not include the EU members Spain or Croatia.  These countries have not signed up to the original basic legislation and are not planning to participate in the new system, though the door may be open to them in the future.


Other Countries covered by European Patents

It is also worth remembering that granted European Patents can also be validated in a number of countries which are not part of the EU. These countries are:

Albania, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Monaco, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, San Marino, Turkey.

Note that Montenegro only recently signed up fully to the European Patent Convention, so is only available for recent filings; or as an “extension state” for others.

Information accurate as of 27/02/2023



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