Italy deposited its instrument of ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) with the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU on 10 February 2017. Italy had already announced last autumn that it would be hosting a local division of the UPC in the Milan Courthouse (with the refurbishment due to be completed in June 2017), and the legislation authorising the President to ratify the UPC Agreement (and also amending national IP law) came into force on 25 November 2016 (reported here
). Friday’s notification (published by the Council of the EU here
) means Italy’s ratification has now come into effect, making a total of 12 countries that have now ratified, the others being Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and France (one of the three mandatory ratifying countries).
Apart from the UK and Germany (the other two mandatory ratifying countries), it is expected that when the UPC system starts at least four or five more countries will have ratified. For example, Slovenia is ready to ratify (reported here
), Lithuania has parliamentary approval (reported here
), Latvia has draft legislation in parliament (reported here
), and both Estonia (which has agreed to form a regional division with Sweden, Lithuania and Latvia) and Hungary (where the UPC Training Centre - the coordinating office for the training of judges – is located) have been reported to be making preparations.
We therefore anticipate that as many as 19 countries will be part of the UPC system when it begins.