On 14 September 2016, The Netherlands completed the ratification process of the Unified Patent Court agreement, by depositing its instrument of ratification at the Council of the European Union in Brussels.

After approval of the draft by the Second and First Chamber (Parliament and Senate) last June, no request for a referendum for public consultation was presented, and thus at the beginning of September the ratification bill became final.

The unitary patent package consists of a new type of European patent and a Unified Patent Court. The new patent will have unitary effect throughout the participating EU member states, and the Unified Patent Court will, eventually, replace the national courts when it comes to litigation of all European patents, with or without unitary effect.

The Netherlands is the eleventh state to ratify the UPC agreement. The twelfth may well be Italy, where Parliament yesterday approved the ratification bill, and the Senate is expected to do so too soon. In order for the UPC to enter into force, the agreement has to be signed by at least 13 countries, including France, Germany and the UK. France ratified in 2014, and this means there are only two more ratifications necessary, which are Germany and the UK.

It is expected that Germany will complete its ratification of the agreement in the near future since the German ratification proceedings formally started in June 2016.

After the Brexit referendum, there is however uncertainty about the UK. While the UK is still fully free to ratify as long as it is an EU member, it has not decided whether it will do so. It is expected that more information will become available in the coming months, and NLO will keep you posted. The NLO advisors are always available for any further questions in this matter.