The renewal fees for a unitary patent were set to be equivalent to the sum of renewal fees for the "top 4" EPC Contracting States where the most EP patents were validated (DE, FR, GB, and NL). Therefore, compared with a “classic” European patent that is validated in numerous member states, patent proprietors can save considerable costs for renewal fees with the unitary patent. For instance, at present, for a "classic" European patent validated in 25 member states, renewal fees over 20 years would amount to around 160 000 €, whereas renewal fees over 20 years for a unitary patent would amount to around 36 000 €.
Further, a unitary patent will make it redundant to appoint representatives with each national patent office and reduces the administrative effort since only one annuity has to be paid.
On the other hand, for a unitary patent, it will not be possible to "manage" maintenance costs by gradually reducing the number of countries in which the patent is maintained.
For additional information on renewal fee costs, please refer to the EPO’s homepage:
Obviously, patent proprietors can save costs with the unitary patent in comparison to "classic" European patents that are validated in numerous member states. It has been estimated that, already for validation and maintenance in four member states, the total costs up to year 20 (including translation costs for the unitary patent) will be on average 8% lower for a unitary patent in comparison to a "classic" European patent. In general, for five to seven validated states, break even can be expected.