The Unified Patent Court is getting closer to its entry into operation. Indeed after the UK’s ratification, Bulgaria and Romania are gearing up.
It has been reported that the Bulgarian parliament has adopted a bill to ratify the Protocol on Provisional Application . The Parliament will now send the law to Bulgaria’s President who must issue a decree for promulgation, which in turn will be published in the State Gazette.
In Romania, the government published its legislative programme for the rest of 2018. It reportedly aims at ratifying the UPC Agreement and its Protocol on Provisional Application by September 2018.
So where do we stand?
Regarding the UPC Agreement: At present, 16 countries have ratified the UPC Agreement (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and the UK). However, the UPC Agreement will enter into force when the UK, France, Germany and 10 other countries will have ratified the Agreement. This means that only Germany’s ratification, on hold due to a pending constitutional complaint, is now required.
Regarding the Protocol on Provisional Application: The PPA allows some provisions of the UPC Agreement to come into force early. This in order to allow for final preparations for the start of the UPC system, such as the recruitment of judges. However under Article 3 of the Protocol, its entry into force will only arise a “the day after 13 Signatory States of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court including Germany, France and the United Kingdom, have either ratified, or informed the depositary that they have received parliamentary approval to ratify, the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court“. So far, the UK, France and 8 other countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden) have fulfilled those requirements. Therefore, the PPA will come into force when Germany and two other countries have done so.