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The Netherlands has become the latest participating member state to ratify the Agreement for a Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement), making it the 11th country to do so. Its instrument of ratification was deposited on 15 September.

The UPC Agreement must be ratified by 13 of the 25 participating member states; including ratification by the three mandatory member states, currently France, Germany and the UK. The Agreement will come into effect four months after the 13th member state has ratified.

The unitary patent system could now come into effect if Germany and the UK, as mandatory signatories, ratify the UPC Agreement. Post the referendum result in June, however, it is now not clear if and when the UK plan to ratify. There are significant legal and political challenges that, although not insurmountable, need to be discussed and any solutions agreed.

The UK is currently the planned location for the chemicals and pharmaceuticals section of the UPC’s Central Division. However, as there is a possibility that the UK may no longer be part of the unitary patent system, this section may need to be relocated. The Netherlands’ recent ratification of the UPC Agreement may challenge Milan’s attempt to host this court.


15 Sep 2019