August 09, 2017

Estonia ratifies the UPC Agreement

As of August 1st, 2017, Estonia has completed the official formalities to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement according to the Council of the European Union. Estonia is now the thirteenth country to ratify the agreement.

The UPC Agreement is a proposal to protect patent rights across Europe through a single patent court. Accordingly, the UPC Agreement requires ratification of the agreement by thirteen members, including Germany, France and the UK in order for the UPC to function; so far, out of the three larger Member States, only France has completed their ratification formalities. Whilst the result of the UK's EU Referendum, in 2016, has cast some doubt over the logistics of the UPC Agreement, according to the UK's Minister of State for Intellectual Property, the position of the UK government seems that preparations to ratify the UPC Agreement in the UK are still ongoing. Germany is also said to have constitutional concerns towards the UPC Agreement, however, UPC Chairman Alexander Ramsay is hopeful that these concerns will be resolved in the near future.

With that in mind, the UPC Preparatory Committee predicts that the UPC Agreement will begin to have effect from 2018. This could see patent protection be obtained much more efficiently across Europe in the near future, with the Unified Court enforcing a single infringement action across all Member States ultimately reducing the duration of the enforcement procedure as well as the litigation costs. This will almost certainly make patent protection a much smoother process for those seeking patent protection across Europe.

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Author: Thomas Donaghy