Italy Ratifies the UPC Agreement
On 10 February 2017, Italy became the twelfth country to ratify the Unified Patent Court (“UPC”) Agreement. Italy originally objected to the UPC, but will become a participating member state for both the UPC and the European Unitary Patent (“EUP”) if the UPC comes into effect in December 2017 (as predicted by the Preparatory Committee and reported here). The UPC will come into force if both the UK and Germany ratify the UPC Agreement.
Since the UK government announced its intention to continue its preparation to ratify the UPC Agreement (reported here), preparations to ratify the UPC Agreement around Europe have started again. For example, the draft legislation for Germany’s ratification of the UPC Agreement is listed to be heard this week in the German parliament. In addition, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Hungary are all ready to ratify or have been reported to be making preparations to ratify the UPC Agreement. Ireland will hold a referendum to decide whether or not to ratify the UPC Agreement. The current list of countries who have ratified the Agreement is given here.
It is therefore hoped that around 20 countries will be involved in the UPC and EUP if it comes into force later this year, representing a significant proportion of the European market.