Patents/ Utility Models
The prosecution procedure in general will not change very much. The classic EP application and examination procedure remains the same. The Unitary Patent will be available as a new and optional alternative after grant of the EP patent. An applicant is not required to make use of a Unitary Patent. The classic EP patent will still be available.
The same applies to existing national patents and judicial systems dealing with national patents as well as national parts of validated classic EP patents. However, the national judicial systems will be supplemented by the UPC, where cases will typically be decided by a panel composed of legally qualified judges and one or two technically qualified judges.
The benefits will become visible once an EP patent participates in the new system. Upon a single request, the EP patent will be treated as one unitary IP right for the whole group of participating EU member states, administratively (recording change of ownership, various national validations can be dispensed with, etc.), financially (renewal fees) and procedurally (central infringement and/or invalidity proceedings). In addition to the formal request, which has to be filed within one month after grant, the patent owner has to file one single translation of the EP patent with the EPO. The language of the translation is either English or, if English was the language of the proceedings, another EU language of the patent owner's free choice.
Noteworthy, national IP rights can co-exist with Unitary Patents (Double Protection).