France ratifies the UPC Protocol on Privileges and Immunities

France ratifies the UPC Protocol on Privileges and Immunities

15 February 2018

The EU Council has recorded here that France deposited its instrument of ratification of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (PPI) of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) with the Council’s General Secretariat yesterday.  Because the seat of the UPC’s central division will be in Paris, and the PPI confers legal status on the Court and certain privileges and immunities on the Court and its Registrar, judges and other staff to ensure its proper functioning, France is one of the four countries that must ratify the PPI in order for it to come into force.  Also, one of the local divisions will be in Paris, and (under the UPC Agreement) the first President of the Court of First Instance (which comprises the central division, and regional and local divisions) must be a French national.  (France was one of the first countries to ratify the UPC Agreement, and it has also consented to the Agreement’s Protocol on Provisional Application.)

The other three countries that must formally ratify (or approve or accept) the PPI in order for it to come into force are Luxembourg (where the Court of Appeal and Registry will be located), and Germany and the UK (as sections of the central division will be in Munich and London).  Luxembourg’s draft legislation authorising approval of the PPI has almost completed its passage through parliament (see here).   The German parliament passed a draft law on 2 June 2017 enabling ratification of the PPI (see here) but the law’s promulgation is on hold due to the case pending in the German Federal Constitutional Court.  The UK’s remaining piece of legislation enabling it to ratify the PPI (and also the UPC Agreement) was passed last week (see here) and the final formalities required mean that the ratification document may be deposited around Easter.

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