One Step Closer To The UPC Agreement: 4 More States To Go

Fresh and interesting post about the future Unified Patent Court Agreement.

Happy reading! 

In 2012, the European member states agreed on “unitary patent package” consisting of three elements: two Regulations and an international Agreement. On the one hand, two regulations (Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection and Council Regulation (EU) No. 1260/2012 of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements), dealing with the creation of the unitary patent protection and the translation arrangements, which entered into force in January 2013. On the other hand, an international court, set up by treaty (“Agreement on a Unified Patent Court”), with divisions located all over Europe.

As a reminder, in early 2013, 25 EU member states (except Spain, Poland, and Croatia) signed the Agreement. Poland, which did take part in the enhanced cooperation, has not signed the Agreement i.e. a UP will not be valid in Poland. Italy and Spain challenged the legality of the legislative procedure and have opted out of the UP, but Italy is still participating in the UPC. Croatia, which joined the EU on July 1, 2013, is also outside the agreement (but may join).

However, to enter into force, the UPC Agreement still needs to be ratified by at least 13 states, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. As of January 2016, 9 countries have ratified the UPC Agreement: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Sweden, and Finland. The Finnish Patents Act was amended to achieve uniformity with the provisions of the UPC Agreement and ratified on January 8, 2016. Only 4 more needed to bring the Agreement into force, including Germany and the UK.

The status of ratification for each member state is available on the EPO website.

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