As reported here, Belgium recently issued a Declaration that it would apply on a provisional basis from 15 May 2017 certain Articles of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement but two Articles were erroneously omitted from the list. Belgium has now issued a new Declaration (recorded here), which correctly includes all the Articles listed in Article 1 of the UPC Agreement’s Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA), those Articles being the ones which will enter into provisional application when the PPA enters into force. The ‘Provisional Application Phase’ then starts, during which final preparations for the start of the UPC system (such as recruitment of judges) can be completed.
The PPA will enter into force the day after 13 states (including France, Germany and the UK) have: (i) ratified, or informed the ‘depositary’ that they have parliamentary approval to ratify, the UPC Agreement, and (ii) consented to be bound by the PPA – such consent may be given in various ways, e.g. signature alone, signature and ratification, or a declaration. Eight states (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden) currently meet this requirement. Four states (Austria, Bulgaria, Malta and Portugal) have ratified the UPC Agreement but not yet consented to the PPA (although it has been reported that Malta will consent to the PPA when a definite start date is known), and other states are close to ratifying (some of which have already signed the PPA).