Malta has become the sixth country to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, joining Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and Sweden.  Seven more countries, including the UK and Germany, are required to ratify the UPC Agreement before the Agreement enters into force.

Malta’s ratification poses a potential problem for older European patent applications – the so-called “Maltese Problem”.  European patent applications filed before 1 March 2007 do not designate Malta (because it was not an EPC member state).  As a result, it is thought that such applications will not be able to become a European patent with Unitary Effect (the “Unitary Patent”).