On 26 April 2018, World Intellectual Property Day, the UK government announced that it has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). The UK therefore becomes the sixteenth state to do so, leaving Germany as the only remaining country required to ratify for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system (UPS) to come into force.
The UK Intellectual Property Minister, Sam Gyimah MP is quoted as saying:
Ratification of this important Agreement demonstrates that internationally, as well as at home, the UK is committed to strong intellectual property protections. This will help to foster innovation and creativity, bringing our modern and ambitious Industrial Strategy to life.
The UPCA is an international agreement between the majority of European Union member states to establish a new, centralized patent court in Europe (the UPC), which will eventually have sole court jurisdiction to decide on disputes arising from Unitary Patents and European patents in these member states. More details on the UPC and UPS can be found here.
While UK ratification represents a major development towards the UPC and UPS finally becoming a reality, the project remains on hold because of a pending complaint against the UPC filed with the German Federal Constitutional Court last year. This action currently prevents Germany from pushing ahead with their ratification, but the Constitutional Court has listed the complaint to be dealt with this year.