In its meeting today (here), the Bulgarian Council of Ministers agreed to propose to the National Assembly (Bulgaria’s unicameral parliament) that it ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement’s Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA). Although Bulgaria signed the PPA on 11 September 2017, the signature was subject to ratification and only upon ratification will Bulgaria have consented to the PPA. The next step is for the Minister of Economy to present a bill for the ratification to the National Assembly.
The PPA allows various provisions of the UPC Agreement to come into force early, and in this ‘provisional application phase’ final preparations for the start of the UPC system, such as recruitment of judges, can be completed. Under Article 3, the PPA will come into force the day after France, Germany, the UK and 10 other countries have ratified, or informed the depositary that they have parliamentary approval to ratify, the Agreement; and have consented to be bound by the PPA (or by the provisional application of the relevant provisions of the Agreement). France, the UK and eight other countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden) have met the requirements. Bulgaria has ratified the Agreement (on 3 June 2016) and, therefore, will meet these requirements when it ratifies the PPA. Then, apart from Germany (whose completion of the procedure is currently on hold due to the constitutional complaint pending in the BVerfG), action from only one more country will be required, and Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia are all close to completing the procedure.