As we have reported previously, the proposed unitary EU patent system will only come into operation once the agreement recently reached has been ratified by thirteen of the participating countries, provided that those countries include the UK, France and Germany.
The first step along that road has now been taken as Austria became the first country to ratify the agreement, depositing its instrument of ratification on 7 August 2013.
The UK is taking steps to ratify, but is not expected to do so before mid-2015. When the agreement was reached, there was talk of implementation as early as January 2014, but informed commentators soon talked instead in terms of 2015. Expectations now are that the system is unlikely to come into effect before 2016.