The Chamber of Deputies (one of the two chambers of Italy’s parliament) yesterday approved draft legislation to enable Italy to ratify the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). The draft legislation (Bill 3867) must now be approved by the Senate (the other chamber) and promulgated by the President of the Republic to become law.

The Bill was introduced into the Chamber of Deputies on 26 May 2016, and at least two of the parliamentary committees that gave favourable reports on the Bill highlighted one reason to support it was the potential (following the ‘Brexit’ vote) for the section of the UPC central division due to be located in London to be located instead in Italy. During discussion in the Chamber on 4 August 2016 (reported here and here), some Deputies considered that the proposed UPC system would put Italian SMEs at a disadvantage compared with French, German and UK ones, not only because of the UPC central division being located in Paris, Munich and London, but also because of the choice of official language. The MP presenting the bill stated that they would raise the issue of the London court being potentially relocated to Milan with the government, and noted that the language issue already existed with the European patent registration system. In yesterday’s meeting, the Chamber concluded its discussions and, after agreeing amendments, voted on and approved the bill.

As well as authorising the President to ratify the UPC Agreement, the bill also includes changes to national legislation to implement the UPC Agreement, including introducing provisions on indirect patent infringement into the Italian IP Code; currently in Italian law, although indirect infringement is acknowledged by case law, there are no express statutory provisions.

For more on Milan as a location for the UPC central division, see here.