The European Unitary Patent System and Unified Patent Court

the Netherlands Ratifies the UPC Agreement

In some good news to counter the doom-and-gloom of the last week, the Netherlands’ Senate has ratified the UPC Agreement.

Ratification by the Senate completes all steps needed for ratification and all that remains is to deposit the instrument of ratification with the EU.

11 states (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden) have now ratified the UPC agreement. The Agreement will enter force once 13 states have ratified, but those states must include France (already ratified), the UK, and Germany.

Germany has indicated an intention to ratify in autumn 2016, but whether this remains true after the UK’s referendum result is not yet known. It is important to remember that the UK’s status has not changed and will not change for at least two years (the period triggered by a notification under Article 50). Legally, therefore, the UPC could still enter force as planned. However, whether that can happen politically remains to be seen.

The chairman of the preparatory committee is striking a positive tone. In a comment to the Kluwer Patent Blog he stated ‘The outcome of the British referendum has got the potential to influence our project. In what way and to what extent is still difficult to foresee. What is clear is that the preparations will continue towards the goal of establishing the jurisdiction and the Preparatory Committee aims at concluding its work by early October. If any adjustments should be necessary to what has previously has been communicated this will be done in due course.’

Let us all hope the necessary adjustments can be found and implemented quickly.