On 20th February, at the EU Competitiveness Council, Italy signed the UPC Agreement on the Provisional Application. (See our post here on the Protocol). The Protocol on Provisional Application allows “final decisions on the practical set up of the Court” to enter into application. This includes for example the “recruitment of judges and testing of IT systems“and the registration of opt-out demands. So far 12 countries (including Italy) have signed it.
This was not the only progress towards the UPC becoming operational that occurred recently:
- On 8th February 2017 the German Parliament examined the draft legislation authorizing the ratification of the UPCA.
- On 10th February 2017 Italy deposited its instrument of ratification. Italy is now the 12th country to ratify the UPCA.
- On 13th February 2017, the Spanish Socialist Worker’s party (PSOE) called on the Spanish government to reconsider joining the UPC. It argues that not taking part in the Unitary Patent package is detrimental to the competitiveness and innovation of Spanish companies. It notes that, regarding the language requirements, Spanish companies would not be in a different position than before the EPO. The PSOE finally contends that Spain should asks for the transfer of the London seat of the UPC central division to Spain.
- On 20th February at the EU Competitiveness Council:
- The Belgian and Swedish delegations urged the member states to sign the Protocol on the Provisional Application of the UPC Agreement. In fact, the protocol will only enter into force after 13 states, that have already signed and ratified the UPCA, approve it.
- The EU commissioner in charge of the UPC confirmed that the EU was “on a very good way to finalise the topic this year because all of the member states that are in the process of ratification also confirmed today that they are at the very last stage, together with Germany and UK, of ratification.” Indeed it has been reported that Slovenia and Lithuania are ready to ratify, while Latvia has draft legislation in parliament.On the other hand, Estonia (which will take part into a regional division with Sweden, Lithuania and Latvia) and Hungary (which hosts the UPC Training Centre) are making preparations.