In February 2015 the Ministry of Employment and Economy of Finland set up a Working Group to prepare the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. The Working Group has now published, as instructed, a draft for a Government Bill, to be considered in autumn 2015, on the adoption of the Agreement by Finland, focusing on how its provisions will be brought into force in the country and on how national legislation would be amended to align it with the provisions of the Agreement. According to the Working Group, the legislative provisions of the Agreement would be made part of national legislation by means of a special legislative act to that effect. Moreover, the Patent Code, the Criminal Code, the Code of Judicial Procedure, the Enforcement Code and a number of other laws would be amended, as necessary.
The Working group was not tasked to provide an opinion on whether Finland should actually ratify the United Patent Court Agreement, or on the timing of any such ratification, but it is understood that Finland is likely to ratify by the end of 2015. With the Netherlands, Lithuania, Italy and Estonia also rumoured to be progressing toward ratification in the coming months, it appears likely that by the time the UK is due to ratify in spring 2016, enough countries (10) in addition to the three mandatory countries (Germany, France and the UK) will have ratified to enable the UPC to come into existence. If so, and with France having ratified last year, the position of Germany will be key. It is believed to be starting the ratification process in autumn 2015. Of course, both the UK and Germany are expected to hold back deposit of their instruments of ratification until the UPC is ready from a practical perspective. At present it would appear that appointment of judges may be the rate limiting step.