On 6 June 2014, Belgium deposited its instrument of ratification to the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court, joining Sweden, France, Denmark and Austria in the process of implementation of this Agreement.
The ratification follows the approval by the Belgian Parliament on April 23, 2014 of a legislative proposal on the approbation of Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (here FR - NL) and the desire expressed by the council of Ministers held on 24 May and 24 October 2013 on the rapid implementation of this Agreement.
It was also decided to set up a local division of the Unified Patent Court in Belgium that will offer a procedure in four languages (French, Dutch, German and English), in order to, among others :
- improve and assure the effectiveness of the Belgian practice of patent;
- promote and ensure the attractiveness to maintain Belgium for innovative, international companies; and
- strengthen access to justice in their own language at an affordable price.
However, the practical arrangements have yet to be elucidated.
As a reminder, this Agreement follows the adoption at EU level of a “package” of legislation for the implementation of the unitary patent, patent in force in the European Union (with the exception of Spain and Italy), which will be more accessible and less expensive than the “classical” European patent to which it will exist in addition. The agreement will enter into force on the first day of the fourth month following the deposit of the thirteenth instrument of ratification or accession, including the three Member States where the largest number of European patents have their effect in the year prior to the signing of this agreement (namely Germany, France and the United Kingdom) (Article 89 of the Convention).