Yesterday, 11 September 2017, Bulgaria signed the Protocol on Provisional Application of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (PPA), and its signature has now been recorded with the General Secretariat of the EU Council. As reported here, the Bulgarian government had approved the text of the PPA and authorised Bulgaria’s permanent representation in Brussels to sign it on 2 August 2017, but this signature is subject to subsequent ratification by the Bulgarian parliament. Bulgaria has already deposited its instrument of ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA), and has also signed the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the UPC.
The PPA allows an early entry into force of various parts of the UPCA, allowing for the final preparations for the start of the UPC system, such as recruitment of judges, to take place in this ‘provisional application phase’. Under Article 3, the PPA will come into force the day after France, Germany, the UK and 10 other states have ratified, or informed the depositary that they have parliamentary approval to ratify, the UPCA; and have consented to be bound by the PPA. At this stage, France, the UK, and eight other countries have completed the procedure required for the PPA to come into force (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden), whereas Germany’s completion of the procedure is currently on hold due to a pending constitutional challenge.