French President promulgates law ratifying UPC Agreement

French President promulgates law ratifying UPC Agreement

27 February 2014

On 24 February 2014, President François Hollande promulgated the law authorising France to ratify the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court and the new law was published in the Official Journal the next day, so completing the process required for French legislation to come into effect. However, another step is the actual deposit of the instrument of ratification in Brussels.  It is possible that France will hold back from doing this in order to keep the timing of the start of the UPC system within its control as well as the control of the UK and Germany.  Under Article 89 UPCA, the entry into force of the UPCA (and hence the opening of the UPC itself) is 4 months from the date of the last relevant deposit of instruments of ratification, which must include UK France and Germany plus 10 other countries.  Hence, if France deposits, it will lose control over the commencement date, leaving this control to the UK and Germany alone.  This may not only be politically important, but from a practical perspective numerous steps remain to be completed before the Court is ready to open for business, and the requisite number of ratifications may have been achieved before these practical steps have been completed.
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