The United Kingdom has announced on April 26th 2018 that it has deposited the instruments of ratification of the Agreement relating to the Unified Patent Court (UPCA). This now brings the total number of ratifications to sixteen.
Welcoming the news, President Battistelli of the European Patent Office, said, "Today's ratification by the UK brings us a decisive step closer to achieving the entry into force of the Unitary Patent. We are now within touching distance of a new patent for Europe that will support our innovation sector with simplified administration, reduced costs and greater legal certainty".
For the Unitary Patent to enter into force, the UPC Agreement needs to be ratified by thirteen of the 26 participating EU Member States, including France, Germany and the UK as the countries with the largest numbers of European patents in force. While the necessary number of ratifications had already been achieved in 2017, those of Germany and the UK were still outstanding after France had ratified in 2014. The UPC is a dedicated court for patents, hearing cases of validity and infringement related to unitary patents - and later also European patents - granted by the EPO. The Court forms part of the Unitary Patent Package and is based on an international treaty which needs to be ratified in parliament by the EU Member States, while the patent itself is the result of two EU regulations adopted in 2012.