So what happened to the Brussels I Regulation since the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers approved its amendments (see our post here)?
In May 2014, the regulation ( Regulation No 1215/2012) on the rules to be applied with respect to the Unified Patent Court and the Benelux Court of Justice was published in the Official Journal, amending the EU rules on the jurisdiction of courts and recognition of judgments (or Brussels I Regulation). However although it entered into force, it will only apply from 10 January 2015.
In August 2014, Denmark after ratifying the UPCA notified the European Commission of its decision to implement the amendments made to the Brussels I Regulation (see paragraph above). Denmark in fact opted-out of the Brussels I Regulation and must therefore notify the Commission of its decision to implement -or not- the content of any amendment made to this Regulation. However, after ratifying the UPC Agreement, following a referendum on 25 May 2014, it was necessary for Denmark to implement the UPC amendments to the Brussels I Regulation. – See more here
Following a referendum in May 2014 in favor of the UPC, Denmark has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement on 20 June 2014. Denmark will establish a local division of the UPC in Copenhagen with Danish and English as official languages.
You can find the ratification table here
On Sunday 25th May, Denmark voted in favour of joining the Unified Patent Court in a referendum that took place along the European elections. 62.55% of Danes voted “yes” against 37.45% of “No”, out of a total 2,303,178 voters or 54% of the population. (source: Election Guide)
Denmark is one of five EU nations to have an opt-out clause on justice and home affairs. Hence, to be part of the UPC, the Danish government needed either an 80 percent backing in parliament or the majority in a referendum. The Danish People’s Party and the Red-Green Alliance however had indicated they did not support the proposal, which triggered the referendum.
Denmark now needs to ratify the UPC Agreement.
European internal market and services commissioner Michel Barnier welcomed the results:
“The approval of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court by Danish voters gives a very positive signal to all signatories and should encourage them to ratify without any further delay. As a first specialized court common to the Member States in the patent litigation area, the Court will open a new chapter in the history of both the patent system and judicial cooperation in the EU.” (source: European Commission)
Danes will vote in May 2014 on whether or not to join the EU’s Unified Patent Court.
As Denmark has an opt-out from EU legislation on justice, more than 80% of MPs have to support Denmark joining the Unified Patent Court. If the government fails to gather such support it must call a referendum.
However, while the Danish centre-left government is in favour of joining the Unified Patent Court, the anti-EU parties in the parliament, the semi-communist Red-Green Alliance and the right-wing nationalist Danish People’s Party, have been blocking an agreement.
The Danish People’s Party (right-wing nationalist party) had demanded that the government either set up new rules for EU migrants in an attempt to avoid ‘benefits tourism’ or promise a referendum on the banking union, which Denmark, as a non-euro country, still has to decide on, in return for backing the Unified Patent Court.
In August, Danish opposition leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen told Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to give the Danish People’s Party “whatever it takes” to get the party to support the patent court. However, on December 19th 2013 Danish Minister for EU Affairs Nick Hækkerup confirmed that a referendum would take place on 25 May 2014, the same day as the European Parliament elections in Denmark.
According to the newspaper Berlingske Tidende the Danish Government has included a bill in its legislative proposals to join the Unified Patent Court. The Minister for Trade and European Affairs, Nick Hækkerup declared about the bill that “(the) roadmap is to publish (the government’s proposals) and argue why the parliament should support this. It’s so obviously in our interest because it would also protect the inventions that are being made in Denmark”. It will not however be straightforward for Denmark to join the UPC. In fact because Denmark has an opt-out from EU legislation on Justice, if more than 80% of its MPs decide to vote against the bill, the Danish government will need to call for a referendum.
More information here.