On 18 March 2015 Luxembourg became the seventh country to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement. With this, the Unitary Patent has come one step closer to coming into force.
The Agreement requires ratification by 13 states including Germany, France and the UK. Although there is still some administrative work to be done before the Unified Patent Court is ready to hear its first case, a commencement date in 2016 is currently expected. The six EU member states which have already ratified the Agreement are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Malta and Sweden.
Luxembourg has a significant role to play in the Unified Patent Court as the Court of Appeal and the courts’ Registry will be located in Luxembourg. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), also located in Luxembourg, will have the final say on any points of European law referred by the Unified Patent Court. It is hoped that this geographic proximity will encourage legal co-operation.
The Luxembourg legislation ratifying this Agreement makes it clear that there will be no local division of the Unified Patent Court. Local patent litigants will have to rely on one of the Central Divisions in Paris, London or Munich.