On 6 August 2015 a presidential decree was published announcing Portugal’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. In April, Portugal’s national parliament approved the UPC agreement, but it required presidential consent before it could be fully ratified. Now, subject to formal deposition of the instrument of ratification, Portugal will become the eighth EU member state to have ratified the Agreement, joining Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Malta and Sweden.
A total of thirteen member states, which must include France, Germany and the UK, need to ratify the Agreement for it to enter into force. France has already ratified the Agreement and it is expected that Germany will begin work on the ratification process after the summer parliamentary recess. There has been speculation that UK ratification might be delayed due to the decision of the UK Government to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on continued membership for the UK and Gibraltar of the European Union. However, the UK Intellectual Property Office has indicated that ratification will not be delayed and is expected by Q2 2016. Consistent with this, the UK Government today announced that it had taken a commercial lease of premises in the City of London to house the UK local division and the London branch of the central division. The premises will be ready for occupation by Q2 2016. This shows that the UK Government is starting to spend some hard cash on the project - which makes it all seem much more imminent.