The Council of the EU has today recorded a declaration by Belgium concerning the provisional application of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (which Belgium ratified in June 2014). In the declaration, Belgium undertakes to apply on a provisional basis from 15 May 2017 certain provisions of the UPC Agreement and its Annex 1 (‘the UPC Statute’). Although nearly all those provisions are the same as those listed in Article 1 of the UPC Agreement’s Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA), there are two Articles omitted: Article 1 and Article 35(1, 3 and 4) of the UPC Agreement – which establish the UPC and the Patent, mediation and arbitration centre respectively. The reason for the omissions is not yet clear, but as Article 35(1, 3 and 4) of the UPC Statute (rather than the UPC Agreement) is listed in the declaration instead (and not referred to in the PPA) it is possible that the omissions are due to clerical error; in any case, it is hoped they will not be of any consequence.
As reported here, the target date for the PPA to come into force is 29 May 2017 at the latest. This requires 13 states (including France, Germany and the UK) to have consented to be bound by it and either ratified or informed the ‘depositary’ that they have parliamentary approval to ratify the UPC Agreement. Currently, as not all the states that have ratified the Agreement have consented to the PPA (and vice versa) action is needed by 3 more states (in addition to the UK and Germany having ratified, or having parliamentary approval to ratify, the Agreement) before 29 May. Seven countries (France, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden) currently meet this requirement.