The UK has informed the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU (the ‘depositary’) that it has parliamentary approval to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). Therefore, the UK has now completed the procedure set out in the UPCA’s Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) Entry into force provision (Article 3), having already (in October 2015) signed the PPA.
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. The PPA allows various parts of the UPCA 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. The UK now joins France and seven other countries (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden) to have completed the procedure required for the PPA to come into force. Estonia and Slovenia have almost completed the procedure, and other countries are also close – for example, Bulgaria and Portugal have deposited their instruments of ratification of the UPCA but have not yet signed the PPA. Although Germany’s completion of the procedure is currently on hold due to the complaint lodged in the Constitutional Court, it is still hoped that the provisional application phase will be able to start later this year (see here).
Regarding the UK’s actual ratification of the UPCA, as reported here, it has to pass only two pieces of secondary legislation (concerning privileges and immunities, one of which was laid before the UK parliament on 26 June 2017) before it is ready to ratify by depositing its instrument of ratification with the depositary.