Yesterday, Italy joined the EU's unitary patent and so became the 26th member of the enhanced cooperation on unitary patent protection (see here).
The unitary patent will enter into force at the same time as the EU's unified patent court (UPC). The agreement on the UPC was signed on 19 February 2013 by all of the EU's member states, except Croatia, Poland and Spain. It will not enter into force until it has been ratified by at least thirteen member states including the three biggest validation states, namely the United Kingdom (UK), France and Germany. Austria, France, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg and Portugal have already ratified the agreement, but the UK and Germany have not yet. As far as we understand, the European Commission is calling on all remaining participating EU states to ratify the UPC agreement as soon as possible so that the unitary patent and UPC come into force by the end of 2016.
Further information about the unitary patent and UPC can be found here.