The Agreement on the 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).
We are pleased to announce that France ratified the Agreement on 14 March 2014.
Austria is the only other state so far to have ratified the Agreement and it did so on 6 August 2013.
The UK 's Intellectual Property Bill will enable the UK to bring the UPC into effect by ratifying the Agreement. The Bill is nearing its final stage. This is scheduled for 2 April 2014 and will see the amendments introduced by the House Commons referred back to the House of Lords for consideration. If the amendments are agreed, the Bill will be given Royal Assent and come into force. It is not clear to us how long this will take and how long it will take for the UK to ratify the UPC Agreement after the Bill has passed.
It 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. Further information about unitary patent protection and the UPC may be found here: