The United Kingdom announced on 26 April 2018, World Intellectual Property Day, that it has deposited the instruments of ratification of the Agreement relating to the Unified Patent Court (UPCA). See announcement on the UK’s Government website here.
The UK therefore becomes the sixteenth state to ratify the UPCA, the others being Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden.
For the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system (UPS) to come into force, thirteen Member States must ratify the agreement, including the UK, France and Germany as the countries with the largest numbers of European patents in force. Since France already ratified in early 2014, Germany is the only remaining country required for the Unitary Patent Package finally becomes a reality.
However, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) has agreed to hear a constitutional complaint disputing the legitimacy of the UPC. Although said complaint is included in the list of cases in which the Federal Constitutional Court intends to reach a decision during 2018, there is still no sign when it will be decided or whether questions will be remitted to the Court of Justice of the EU first.
Further, despite the UK ratification, it remains unclear how the UPC-UPS system will be implemented in view of the previous UK’s decision to leave the European Union (Brexit).
More details on the UPC and UPS can be found here.