At its meeting on 2 August 2017, the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria approved the text of the Protocol on Provisional Application of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (PPA), and authorised Bulgaria’s permanent representation in Brussels to sign the Protocol on behalf of the Bulgarian Republic, subject to subsequent ratification (see extract from the minutes of the meeting here). The text approved by the government also specifies that Bulgaria’s representatives to the UPC governing bodies will be appointed by the Council of Ministers in due course. It is therefore expected that Bulgaria’s signature will soon be recorded with the General Secretariat of the EU Council (here). As previously reported here, Bulgaria has already deposited its instrument of ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA), and has also signed the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the UPC.
The PPA allows various parts of the UPC Agreement (UPCA) to come into force early, and in this ‘provisional application phase’ final preparations for the start of the UPC system, such as recruitment of judges, can be completed. Under Article 3, the PPA will come into force the day after France, Germany, the UK and 10 other states have ratified, or informed the depositary that they have parliamentary approval to ratify, the UPCA; and have consented to be bound by the PPA. At this stage, France, the UK, and eight other countries have completed the procedure required for the PPA to come into force (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden). Germany’s completion of the procedure is currently on hold due to the complaint lodged in the Constitutional Court, but it is still hoped that the provisional application phase will be able to start later this year (see here).