Apparently, only 21 of the originally 25 EU member states that supported the establishment of a Unitary Patent by enhanced cooperation are prepared to sign, including the thee "mandatory" signers France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovenia are reported to have technical problems, whatever that might mean. But at least in the case of Poland, there appear to be also political problems that will likely prevent the country from signing the UPC agreement for many years.
The 22nd signer will be Italy, which nevertheless is still opposing the Unitary Patent together with Spain for language issues. The effect for Italy will be that a European Patent granted by the EPO will still have to be separately validated in Italy (and translated into Italian) to take effect in this country, but can be centrally enforced and attacked before the Unified Patent Court together with a possibly existing parallel Unitary Patent.
Further issues recently reported on ksnh::law include the issuance of a nearly-final version of the Rules of Procedure for the Unified Patent Court, including some interesting observations as to the representation rights of patent attorneys before and the fully electronic procedure at the new court:
- Rules Of Procedure Are Out, More News
- Farewell, Paper-Based Communication – IT Interoperability Is Now At Stake
With the publication of the draft Rules of procedure, the main legal texts of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court system are now available in a (pre-)final form:
- REGULATION (EU) No 1257/2012 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection,
- COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) No 1260/2012 of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements,
- Agreement on a Unified Patent Court of 11 January 2013 (Council Doc 16351/12), and
- Rules of procedure of the Unified Patent Court, 14th draft of 31 January 2013.
(Photo: The Council of the European Union)