On 10 April 2015, the Assembly of the Republic (the Portuguese Parliament) passed a motion brought by the Council of Ministers to approve the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (see here). Portugal’s ratification process still requires the President of the Republic to give Presidential assent by decree and thereafter Portugal still needs to deposit its instrument of ratification in Brussels for it to be effective. However, this is a major step forward. It is interesting to note that the report prepared by the Commission for Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities, which studied the motion before it was voted by the full Assembly, highlighted the need for Portugal to establish a local division of the UPC, although the government has not yet formally expressed a view on the subject, and it was generally thought previously that Portugal would not set up a local division.
Portugal is hence now close to joining the seven countries that have so far ratified the UPC Agreement: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Malta, Sweden and Luxembourg – albeit Luxembourg still needs to deposit its instrument of ratification. Before the UPC Agreement can enter into force, it must be ratified by 13 countries, a number which must include Germany and the UK in addition to France.