Yesterday, the UK's Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah, confirmed the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). In the press release it is stated that this ratification brings the court one step closer to reality. The UPCA is an international treaty. The intended Unified Patent Court will have jurisdiction over patent disputes across the contracting states.
Thirteen member states are required to ratify the UPCA, including France, UK and Germany, for the court to come into being. France has already ratified the UPCA in early 2014, but in Germany the Constitutional Court has scheduled to hear a constitutional complaint over the UPC and the ratification process is facing difficulties at the moment. With the UK ratification in place, the total number of ratifications is now up to 16, meaning that the German ratification is decisive for the UPC. Also, with Brexit approaching, for the UK the Unified Patent Court will be subject to negotiation with its European neighbours when leaving the EU.
The president of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoît Battistelli, welcomed the news and said that "the new patent for Europe that will support our innovation sector with simplified administration, reduced costs and greater legal certainty" was now within "touching distance". The EPO is the administrator of the current intergovernmental system and is intended to act as the granting authority for future Unitary Patents.
At Zacco we are following the developments regarding the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court closely and will keep you updated. Please get in touch with our attorneys if you have any questions in this matter. You can find your closest Zacco office here.