Tag Archives: UPC Agreement

Unitary Patent – Lithuania Completes Its Ratification Formalities

According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Lithuania has completed its ratification formalities on 24 August 2017. This is the 14th ratification following that of Estonia which joined the unitary patent system on 1 August 2017.

To be complete, the unitary patent system requires 13 ratifications, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. France is already part of the system since 14 March 2014. However, according to the Preparatory Committee, the United Kingdom and Germany still have some hurdles to overcome before the unitary patent system enters into force (you can see our previous posts on the situation in the UK and Germany)

Still, the Preparatory Committee is confident that the UPC will come into force around January 2018.

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UPDATE ON THE UK RATIFICATION OF THE UPC

The process of ratification of the UPC by the UK seems to be back on track, following the recent UK elections.

Orders on Privileges and Immunities for the Unified Patent Court were laid in Parliament under the International Organisations Act 1968 today (Click Here and Click Here). Separate legislation will be laid in the Scottish Parliament in due course. The Orders are affirmative orders, which means they will be debated in each House of Parliament. Separately the Scottish Order will be debated in the Scottish Parliament. They will also require Privy Council approval.

Once this legislation has been passed the UK will be able to formally ratify the UPC Agreement. This is the final legislative step in the UK’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court.

Alexander Ramsay, the preparatory committee Chairman also released an update (Link to Unified Patent Court Website) concerning the progress made by the UK and Estonia towards ratification of the UPC. The latest development in the UK is considered by the Committee as a “firm intent and commitment on the road to ratification” while Estonia is also taking the last steps towards formal ratification.

However, it should not be forgotten that three additional approvals of the PPA including Germany are still necessary in order for the provisional period to begin. The Chairman is hopeful the situation regarding the constitutional complaint in Germany will be resolved rather quickly and therefore [he is] hopeful that the period of provisional application can start during the autumn 2017 which would mean that the sunrise period for the opt out procedure would start early 2018 followed by the entry into force of the UPCA and the UPC becoming operational.”

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Service of written pleadings, orders, decisions and other documents before the UPC

An action according to Article 32(1) of the UPC Agreement is introduced when the plaintiff lodges a corresponding Statement or Application at the UPC Registry (Rule 4 RoP). Then, Chapter 2 of Part 5 of the Rules of Procedure (RoP) provides for a number of provisions related to the service by the Registry of all documents related to this action (Rule 6 RoP). This Chapter 2 (Rules 270-279 RoP) is subdivided in four sections.

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German Court delays UPC Ratification

The German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has delayed the ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (http://www.lto.de/recht/nachrichten/n/bverfg-stoppt-eu-einheits-patent-verfassungsbeschwerde/) as became known today.

The Constitutional Court has asked the Federal President of Germany to put the process of ratification on hold following a constitutional complaint filed by a private person. The Office of the Federal President informed the court that the process was “suspended” following the request. The constitutional complaint relates to the law ruling the Unified Patent Court, but as the two are closely related, the entry into force of the Unitary Patent has also been put on hold.

At this point, Germany and the UK have not yet ratified the UPC Agreement, which requires 13 signatories including those two countries plus France before the UPC can be launched.

Now, concerns have been raised that Germany will not be able to ratify the protocol on the provisional application for quite some time.

Those events will probably have a significant impact on the entry into operation of the entire UPC package.

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Get prepared for a breathtaking fall sunrise

In practice, the UPC Agreement setting up the UPC is to enter into force the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the thirteenth instrument of ratification or accession, including France, Germany and the UK.

As a further unforeseen development of the setting up of the UPC, the United Kingdom voted “Brexit”. This Brexit has become more tangible as the UK has notified withdrawal from the EU under article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union on March 29, 2017.

Despite the great uncertainties created by Brexit, rumors say that the UK is willing to ratify the UPC Agreement in spring 2017. Besides, Germany is apparently prepared to do so in summer 2017. This would trigger start of the UPC at the end of year 2017 or the beginning of year 2018.

Before start of the UPC, these ratifications would trigger immediate entry into force of the Protocol to the UPC Agreement signed by the Contracting Member States on October 1st, 2015.

The UPC has to be fully operable at the date the UPC Agreement enters into force.

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