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IP Bill - Unitary Patent

The Agreement on the European Union’s (EU’s) Unitary Patent Court (UPC) was signed on 19 February 2013 by all of the EU’s member states, except Croatia, Poland and Spain.  The Agreement will enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by 13 member states, including the United Kingdom (UK), France and Germany (who are the three mandatory participants). 

Austria and France are the only states so far to have ratified the Agreement.  Information about ratification of the Agreement can be found here:


The UK’s Intellectual Property Bill enables the UK to bring the UPC into effect by ratifying the Agreement.  In particular, the Bill allows the Secretary of State to make provision for giving the UPC effect in the UK and for conferring jurisdiction on the Court. 

It is not clear to us how long it will now take for the UK to ratify the UPC Agreement.

It is our understanding that the German Federal Minister of Justice announced in March 2014 that Germany is planning to begin the process towards ratification “after the summer”.

The UPC is not expected to become operational until late 2015 or even 2016.  It may be delayed beyond 2016 if sufficient member states do not complete the ratification process by then.

Further information about unitary patent protection and the UPC may be found here.

31 March 2014

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