UK ratifies Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement

Dr Catherine Jewell | April 2018

On the 26 April 2018, the UK completed ratification of the UPC Agreement, to set up a court for the enforcement of Unitary Patents across contracting states (for a brief guide to the UPC and Unitary Patent see our earlier article here).

The London section of the UPC’s Central Division will deal with patents relating to chemistry, metallurgy and pharmaceutical and human necessities.  The UK will also host a local division of the UPC. 

The UPC cannot enter into force unless and until Germany ratifies the agreement, which is currently on hold awaiting resolution of a complaint before the German Constitutional Court.  However, the UK’s ratification means that serious discussions can now begin in relation to the UK’s long-term participation in the Unitary Patent Package, post-Brexit.

With the UK’s ratification, sixteen countries have now ratified the UPC Agreement.  The others are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden.  

All that remains for the Agreement to enter into force is ratification by Germany, and the Agreement will enter into force on the first day of the fourth month after Germany deposits its instrument of ratification. 

The German Constitutional Court case is included in this year’s list of cases, and if it were to be dismissed by the summer then final preparations could be completed in time for the UPC to open in early 2019, pre-Brexit.