During one their recent meetings, the Italian Council of Ministers approved the draft bill for the ratification and implementation of the agreement on the creation of the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
In their press release of 29th April 2016, the Council of Ministers expressed the view that a quick ratification process will allow Italy to fully participate in the enhanced cooperation that led to the adoption of the Regulations instituting the Unitary Patent. The Council of Ministers also explicitly invited Italian innovative businesses to prepare to make the most of the Unitary Patent as a single right enforceable throughout the EU with the assistance of a supranational, unitary and specialised jurisdiction. Further, the Council mentioned that this will give Italy the opportunity to set up a local division of the Unified Patent Court, which is seen as something potentially enhancing the role of Italy as well as protecting and promoting the Italian language in Europe.
The Italian Parliament is thus now called upon to approve the draft bill to make it effective, and – given the positive views expressed by the Council of Ministers – it looks as though the end of 2016 may be a reasonable target deadline for Italy to complete the ratification process.
If this were the case, then only Germany, the UK and a third Member State would need to deposit their instrument of ratification for the UPC to become a reality, provided that BREXIT does not happen. Either of Germany and the UK may, however, decide to deposit their instrument of ratification only when the whole unitary patent system, in particular the UPC, is ready to operate. It would seem sensible for one of them to take on this ‘gatekeeper’ role, since it would be undesirable to have the agreement come into effect before all preparations for its implementation have been completed.
You may find Steve Howe’s notes on what BREXIT could potentially mean for patent owners and for the proposed Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent.
We will keep an eye on future developments in Italy, as well as in the other EU countries involved, and advise of any further significant change to the overall picture. For more information about the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, please view our dedicated page or contact us.
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.