EU Unitary Patent - More Progress

On 6 June 2014, Belgium became the fourth member state to ratify the UPC Agreement (UPCA) and deposit its instrument of ratification in Brussels with the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, the other three member states having done so being Sweden, Austria and France. Belgium intends to establish a local division of the UPC in Brussels, with the Court operating in four languages: French, Dutch and German (the national languages) and English.

Under Article 89 UPCA, the entry into force of the UPCA (and hence the opening of the UPC itself) is 4 months from the date of the last relevant deposit of instruments of ratification, which must include the three mandatory ratification countries (UK, France and Germany) plus 10 other countries.

In the UK, draft legislation authorising the ratification and implementation of the UPCA was included in the Intellectual Property Bill that has passed into law as the Intellectual Property Act 2014. It is expected that the UK will ratify the UPCA shortly before the next General Election in May 2015, but that it will hold back deposit of the instrument of ratification until a later date when all practical aspects of preparation for the UPC have been completed, such as development of the IT system.

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