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News 29 Jan 2016

Ratifications of the Unified Patent Court Agreement

Written by Rolf Suurmond
The Dutch government is planning to complete the changes in the Patent Law that are required for ratifying the UPC Agreement by October 1st, 2016.

The official Staatscourant has published a schedule for the treatment of the amended Patent Law by Parliament.

Once the law is in effect, the Netherlands will be in a position to ratify the UPC Agreement. According to the published schedule, the law should pass the Second Chamber of Parliament by April 20, 2016, and the First Chamber of Parliament by September 20th, 2016. As a motivation for the urgency of these laws, it is stated that for the Netherlands as a major patent country, it is important to join the UPC from the start. It is also stated that the UPC Agreement is likely to come into effect in the second half of 2016. Although unlikely, if this were true, the target date of October 1st ratification would be only just-in-time before the start of the UPC.

Earlier this month, Finland deposited its instrument of ratification, which brings the total number of ratifications to 9. Belgium ratified the Agreement already in 2014. For the UPC Agreement to become effective, a minimum of 13 member states have to ratify the Agreement. Therefore, at least four more states, including Germany and The United Kingdom, have to ratify the Agreement to allow the UPC to start.