The UK Government has shown commitment to the UPC by announcing here that it has signed a lease for the London location of the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The London branch of the central and local division of the UPC will be housed in Aldgate Tower, located near the heart of the city.
This announcement reinforces the UK government’s intention to complete ratification of the UPC Agreement by Spring 2016. This ratification date is earlier than the planned UK government ‘in-out’ referendum to decide on the UK’s membership to the EU, scheduled for 2017. The referendum is therefore unlikely to delay the UK’s ratification of the UPC Agreement.
OTHER RATIFICATION NEWS
Turning to other ratification news, Portugal has confirmed its ratification of the UPC Agreement. Portugal’s ratification brings the number of ratified countries to eight to date. Only five more countries (including the UK and Germany) need to ratify before the Agreement comes into force.
The German government has indicated that their ratification bill will be launched in the second half of 2015.
Italy and Spain originally opposed the UPC and Unitary Patent. Spain have not indicated that they wish to participate, despite Spain’s legal challenges at the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) being dismissed in May 2015. However, Italy have slowly changed their mind. At first, Italy signed the UPC Agreement to use the court, but did not want to participate in the EUP. Italy have now officially made a request to the European Commission to join the EUP, taking the number of potential countries covered by the EUP to 26.
It remains to be seen whether Portugal’s ratification (as Spain’s neighbour) and the request to join the EUP from Italy (as Spain’s former ally against the UPC and EUP) will influence a change in Spain’s position on the UPC and EUP.
EUP RENEWAL FEES
Meanwhile the European Patent Office (EPO) has set the level of renewal fees for the EUP. The level of renewal fees will be set at the same level as the four most frequently validated countries (namely, Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands) under the EPO’s so-called “True Top 4” proposal.