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Unified Patent Court – progress towards ratification

In order for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) system to come into force, the UPC agreement must be ratified by at least 13 countries including the UK, France and Germany. So far, the agreement has been ratified by only Austria and France.

The UK is set to ratify the agreement sometime in 2015, the necessary legislation already having been approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Malta and Belgium are also expected to ratify the agreement in the near future.

The situation in Germany is less clear, with no significant progress towards ratification having been made to date. A draft piece of legislation to ratify the agreement is expected to be presented to parliament later this year.

Denmark and Ireland have both announced that a referendum will be required before the agreement can be ratified. The referendums are both expected to be held this year, with the Danish vote scheduled for 25 May 2014.

Given current progress towards ratification of the agreement and setting up the court system, it is expected that the UPC will not begin operating until 2016 at the earliest. Many commentators predict 2017 as a more realistic target.

If you have any questions on this issue or any other aspect of patent law, please contact Andy Cloughley at or

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