Austria has become the first European Union state to ratify the Unitary Patent Package, having deposited its ratification instrument on 7 August 2013. As yet, none of the other EU member states have followed suit. The present ratification status of the proposed Unitary Patent Package can be viewed on line here.
For the Unitary Patent to take effect a further 12 European Union member states must ratify the agreement, including the UK, France and Germany. Ratification by further member states is likely to take place in the next 18 months.
Speaking at 2013 CIPA Congress on 3rd October, Neil Feinson, the Director of International Policy at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) confirmed that the UK would not be likely to ratify the Unitary Patent Package until the first quarter of 2015. At present, the Intellectual Property Bill, which would give the UK Secretary of State the power to bring UK patent law in line with the Unitary Patent Package requirements, is currently awaiting its second reading in the UK House of Commons. The progress of the bill can be seen here. The Bill is not likely to pass the subsequent stages until 2014.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking before any action in reliance on it.