On 26 April 2018, World IP Day, the UK’s Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah MP, confirmed that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement has been ratified by the UK. The completion of UK domestic formalities brings the number of signatories that have ratified the agreement to 16 and means that the introduction of the oft-delayed international court is a significant step closer.

In order for the new cross-border court to come into being, the UPC agreement needs to be ratified by at least 13 signatory countries including each of the UK, France and Germany. France ratified the agreement in 2014 and so now all that is needed is for Germany to follow suit. The agreement would then come into force four months after Germany’s ratification. The likely timeline in Germany is presently unclear, however, because the federal courts have asked that the relevant bills remain unsigned until a legal challenge is resolved.