The Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement has taken another step towards implementation with ratification by Finland – the ninth ratification by a participating country. Meanwhile, ratification by the UK is one step closer.
On 19 January 2016, Finland deposited its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement to the General Secretariat of the Council in Brussels1. The Finnish parliament has released on its website two acts related to the ratification dated 13 January 2016 entitled: “Acts amending the Patents Act” and “Law on the Unified Patent Court bringing into force the provisions pertaining to the law of the Agreement and the application of the Agreement”.
As mentioned in our earlier post, in order for the UPC to enter into force, 13 participating countries out of the total of 25 must ratify the UPC Agreement. (Currently, Spain, Poland and Croatia have not signed up to the UPC regime. However, these countries may register at any time as participating members.)
An additional requirement is that those 13 ratifying countries must include the top three EU countries with most filed patent applications in 2012 (the year before the agreement was signed), namely, France, Germany and the UK2. France ratified the Agreement in early 2014 but Germany and the UK have not yet ratified. After the ratification by Germany, the UK and two further participating countries, the UPC would open on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the thirteenth instrument of ratification3.
As to the UK, a draft Statutory Instrument (SI) was laid before the UK Parliament for approval4 after completion of a consultation on its drafting, run by the UK Intellectual Property Office. The SI proposes amendments to the Patents Act 1977 to accommodate the UPC Agreement. After the SI’s approval, the UK would be in a position to ratify the Agreement, which could occur as early as spring this year.
The UPC could therefore become a reality later in 2016 provided that the “big dogs” – UK and Germany – and two other participating EU countries ratify the Agreement.
For more information about the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, please view our dedicated page here or contact your Reddie & Grose attorney.
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 any action in reliance on it.