Unified Patent Court: Ratification Update:

Jane Lambert

Art 89 (1) of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court provides that the Agreement will come into force on the 1st day of the 4th month after the deposit with the Commission of the 13th instrument of ratification or accession including deposits of such instruments by France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

According to the Council website, 12 states have deposited instruments of ratification. The last of these was Italy which deposited its instrument on on 12 Feb 2017.  Italy's ratification is particularly significant for two reasons. The first is that it had opposed the unitary patent in C-274/11 - Spain and Italy v Commission and others  [2013] EUECJ C-274/11 on the grounds that the implementing legislation was incompatible with EU law. The second reason why Italy's participation is significant is that it will be entitled to host one of the sections of the Central Division of the Court of First Instance should the UK be obliged to withdraw from the UPC in 2019.

Despite Douglas Carswell's early day motion to block the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court, the UK has announced that it is on course to ratify the Agreement. The latest state to approve the Protocol is Germany. The upper house of its federal legislature passed legislation to implement the Protocol on 2 June 2017. 

The deposit of instruments of ratification by Germany and the United Kingdom will satisfy the requirements of art 89 (1). There is every chance that the Court will open its doors before the end of this year.


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