The unitary patent is a new option after a grant of a regular EP patent. So, there will be no changes in the proceedings up to grant.
After the grant of the EP patent, an applicant may choose to request a unitary patent with the EPO. While the request itself is free, applicants have to supply one translation of the specification together with the request.
Further, for each unitary patent a renewal fee has to be paid to the EPO. The amount of this renewal fee corresponds to the sum of the respective renewal fees of four countries, namely Germany, France, the UK, and the Netherlands. So, with the payment of a single renewal fee equivalent to that of four countries, applicants can achieve protection in 17 countries to begin with, and then and up to 26 countries once all member states have ratified the UPC Agreement.
The single renewal fee for the unitary patent also offers significant administrative advantages.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.