Home » Law » Unitary Patent Package – The Ratification Game (Lithuania completes its ratification formalities)

Unitary Patent Package – The Ratification Game (Lithuania completes its ratification formalities)

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EU shirt2

Update (25 August 2017)

According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Lithuania has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 24 August 2017) to become the 14th country to complete its ratification formalities. Lithuania joins Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the fourteen countries who have completed their ratification processes.

The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. The EU Referendum in the UK threw the timescale into doubt last year and the Preparatory Committee recently noted that there are some additional hurdles to be overcome before the system can go live, namely securing enough approvals to the Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) and the resolution to the challenge in the German Constitutional Court. Despite these issues the Preparatory Committee still seem to be working toward the sunrise period at the UPC starting in early 2018.

There are now enough countries to have ratified the unified patent court agreement that the system will come into effect if the UK and Germany complete their own ratification procedures and sufficient approvals to the PPA are obtained.

Now that Lithuania has completed all of the formalities we have updated our ratification infographic (for an answer to the question “What’s up with this infographic?“, please see the bottom of the post!”).

UPC graphic 24-8-17

Only, France, Germany and the UK are guaranteed a place in the first XIII but to get out on the pitch they need to prove their match fitness (i.e. they need to ratify the unified patent court agreement). Once we have 13 players (UK, FR, DE plus 10 others) then the game can get underway. Remaining players will form up on the bench.

State of Play (as of 24 August 2017)

Number of countries on the pitch/bench = 14 (13 needed, including the UK, France and Germany. It is noted that currently only France has completed its ratification process).

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Lithuania deposited its instrument of ratification on 24 August 2017.

Lithuania has been located on the bench in the above graphic as the three central midfield slots are reserved for France, Germany and the UK.

As noted above, 13 countries – including the UK, France and Germany – need to ratify the UPC Agreement for the unitary patent system to come into effect. Since thirteen countries, including France, have now ratified the UPC Agreement then at a minimum, once the UK and Germany have completed their ratification processes, the unitary patent system will go live with 16 countries.

State of Play (as of 1 August 2017)

Number of countries on the pitch/bench = 13 (13 needed, including the UK, France and Germany. It is noted that currently only France has completed its ratification process).

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Estonia deposited its instrument of ratification on 1 August 2017.

Estonia has been located on the bench in the above graphic as the three central midfield slots are reserved for France, Germany and the UK.

As noted above, 13 countries – including the UK, France and Germany – need to ratify the UPC Agreement for the unitary patent system to come into effect. Since thirteen countries, including France, have now ratified the UPC Agreement then at a minimum, once the UK and Germany have completed their ratification processes, the unitary patent system will go live with 15 countries.

State of Play (as of 10 February 2017)

Number of countries on the pitch/bench = 12 (13 needed, including the UK, France and Germany. It is noted that currently only France has completed its ratification process).

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Italy deposited its instrument of ratification on 10 February 2017.

Italy has been located on the bench in the above graphic as the three central midfield slots are reserved for France, Germany and the UK.

As noted above, 13 countries – including the UK, France and Germany – need to ratify the UPC Agreement for the unitary patent system to come into effect. Since twelve countries, including France, have now ratified the UPC Agreement then at a minimum, once the UK and Germany have completed their ratification processes, the unitary patent system will go live with 14 countries. As noted in our recent post however it is possible that there will be 17 or 18 countries within the system by the time the UPC opens its doors.

State of Play (as of 14 September 2016)

Number of countries on the pitch = 11 (13 needed).

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that the Netherlands deposited its instrument of ratification on 14 September 2016.

Wesley Sneijder is captain of the Netherlands but we’ve had to play him in an unusual position in the infographic (he’s in goal!) as the three central midfield slots are reserved for France, Germany and the UK.

State of Play (as of 3 June 2016)

Number of countries on the pitch = 10 (13 needed).

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Bulgaria deposited its instrument of ratification on 19 January 2016.

Bulgaria’s football captain, Svetoslav Dyakov, plays as in midfielder and has been added to the left wing (which is admittedly slightly out of his normal position but the three central midfield slots are reserved for France, Germany and the UK).

State of Play (as of 19 January 2016)

Number of countries on the pitch = 9.

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Finland deposited its instrument of ratification on 19 January 2016.

Finland’s football captain, Niklas Moisander, plays as a centre back and has been added to the right of Vincent Kompany.

State of Play (as of 28 August 2015)

Number of countries on the pitch = 8.

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Portugal deposited its instrument of ratification on 28 August 2015.

Portugal’s football captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, plays as a forward and has been added in the hole behind the fearsome strike force of Sweden and Malta.

State of Play (as of 22 May 2015)

Number of countries on the pitch = 7.

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Luxembourg deposited its instrument of ratification on 22 May 2015.

Luxembourg’s football captain, Mario Mutsch, plays in midfield and has been added on the right wing (the three central midfield positions being reserved for the “required 3” of France, Germany and the UK.

State of Play (as of 9 December 2014)

Number of countries on the pitch = 6.

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Malta deposited its instrument of ratification on 9 December 2014.

Malta has now been added to the info-graphic above. Since Malta’s football captain, Michael Mifsud, plays as a striker that seemed a good place to add Malta to the graphic.

Now that Malta has joined the “ratification” group it means that the “Malta Problem”, which is discussed in depth here, will kick in once the unitary patent system is up and running. In a nutshell, no European patent application filed before 1 March 2007, and which is still pending, will be eligible to become a unitary patent (assuming it grants after the unitary patent system goes live).

State of Play (as of 20 June 2014)

Number of countries on the pitch = 5.

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Denmark deposited its instrument of ratification on 20 June 2014.

Denmark has now been added to the info-graphic above. Since Denmark’s football captain, Daniel Agger, plays in defence that seemed a good place to add Denmark to the graphic.

State of Play (as of 6 June 2014)

Number of countries on the pitch = 4.

The website of the Council of the European Union has been updated to show that Belgium deposited its instrument of ratification on 6 June 2014.

Belgium has now been added to the info-graphic above. Since Belgium’s football captain, Vincent Kompany, plays in defence that seemed a good place to add Belgium to the graphic.

State of Play (as of 5 June 2014)

Number of countries on the pitch = 3.

The European Commission website has been updated to show that Sweden deposited its instrument of ratification on 5 June 2014.

Sweden has now been added to the info-graphic above. Since Sweden’s football captain, Zlatan Ibrahimović, plays upfront that seemed a good place to add Sweden to the graphic.

State of Play (as of 14 March 2014)

Number of countries on the pitch = 2.

The European Commission website has been updated to show that France deposited its instrument of ratification on 14 March 2014. As France is one of three countries (along with the UK and Germany) that is required to ratify the unified patent court agreement before it can come into force we have allocated them a coveted midfield slot.

State of Play (as of 12 August 2013)

Number of countries on the pitch = 1.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry website indicates that Austria’s instrument of ratification has been deposited in Brussels. This is also confirmed on the official page of the European Commission.

Austria has therefore won the race to be the first country to ratify the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court.

Austria has now been added to the info-graphic above. Since Austria’s football captain, Christian Fuchs, plays at left back that seemed a good place to add Austria.

State of Play (as of  5 March 2013)

Number of countries on the pitch = 0.

Following on from the 19 February 2013 update, Bulgaria has now signed the unified patent court agreement.

State of Play (as of 19 February 2013)

Number of countries on the pitch = 0.

On 19 February 2013 at a signing ceremony in Brussels a total of 24 out of a possible 27 countries signed the unified patent court agreement (UPC agreement). As expected below, Poland decided not to sign the agreement. They were joined by Bulgaria (who have every intention of signing once some internal issues have been resolved) and Spain.

Italy joined 23 other member states in signing the agreement meaning that, should the required 13 signatures be received, the unified patent court will have competence in respect of European patents that have been validated in Italy.

The ratification game info graphic has been updated to reflect these changes. Spain remain on the coach but Italy have entered the changing rooms. To acknowledge the fact that Italy have not joined the enhanced cooperation club and that unitary patents will not be able to extend to Italy, the Italian team shirt is purple whereas the other team members in the changing room are wearing blue – perhaps the Italian player can go in goal once Italy ratify the UPC agreement.

Since Bulgaria intends to sign the UPC agreement they have not been sent for an early bath with Poland or back to the coach to join Spain. Instead they have merely mislaid their kit. As soon as they’ve found it they’ll return to the changing rooms.

State of Play (as of  6 February 2013)

Number of countries on the pitch = 0 [The unified court agreement is open for signature from 19 February and the official timetable hopes that the required number of countries will ratify the agreement by the end of 2013]

Poland have taken an early bath as they are now going to “wait and see” if they want to join the game.

Italy and Spain have stayed on the coach because they don’t want to play unless the tactics meeting is in Italian/Spanish.

Croatia are a late call up and may join the game at some point during 2013. [Croatia are due to join the EU in July 2013. As they are already part of the EPC they could apply to join the enhanced cooperation regime, ratify the court agreement and become part of the unitary patent system]

We will update this post and the info graphic as and when we get players on the pitch or we get news of further developments (referendum delays etc.).

Background to The Ratification Game Infographic

As discussed in our Q&A post on the unitary patent package, the unified patent court agreement requires 13 or more participating member states to ratify the agreement before the unitary patent system can get up and running.  Furthermore, three of those 13 member states need to be France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

We will be following the ratification process here on IPcopy but thought we’d try and do so via the medium of football and info graphics.

So, without further ado here’s the process of ratification re-imagined in the form of a (wildly stretched) football analogy. The European team “UPP United” (Unitary Patent Package) are at the ground for their match against the Rest of the World (an aim of the unitary patent system is to make the European patent system more competitive compared to the systems in the US and Japan). This being a slightly inaccurate analogy the European team will comprise 13 players (instead of the usual 11) and will form up in a 5-5-2 (or 5-4-1-2) formation! The info graphic is above and more notes are within the post. We hope you enjoy.

Mark Richardson       6 February 2013  (with thanks to Kaya Elkiner for the image assets) [updated 23 February 2013, 5 March 2013, 1 April 2014, 10 June 2014, 11 June 2014, 23 June 2014, 10 December 2014, 22 May 2015, 28 August 2015, 19 January 2016]


7 Comments

  1. fish says:

    Everyone seems to take as granted that Malta ratified the UPC agreement and seems to be satisfied with this information. Whatever the situation, what imports is not only the ratification per se, but the deposition of the instrument of ratification to the secretary of the Council of EU (art 84 and 89 UPC).

    By the way, has anyone checked if Austria and France have deposited their instrument of ratification ? I am not sure how this can be verified… Is it supposed to be published on the Offical Journal of the EU? If yes can anyone give the reference of the OJ ? Thanks

    The Commission website is very nice but I am not sure how reliable it is. In fact it just speaks about ratification (not deposition of instrument of ratification). http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/indprop/patent/ratification/index_en.htm

  2. ipcopymark says:

    Thank you for your comment

    A good question. I note that the date listed on the EU Commission website is 14 March for France. However, President Hollande promulgated the relevant law back in February (see our earlier post https://ipcopy.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/and-then-there-were-three-president-hollande-signs-off-on-ratification-of-upc-agreement/).

    However, I appreciate that this isn’t conclusive so we reached our to our friends at Bristows LLP and they confirmed that they had received direct confirmation that France has deposited its instrument of ratification.

    Regards

    ipcopymark

  3. fish says:

    Thank you

  4. ipcopy says:

    IPcopy reader Gonçalo Sousa has notified us to say that the Portugese president has ratified the UPC Agreement. Gonçalo’s comment in full reads:

    “The Portuguese president has ratified the UPC Agreement, after the parliament approval. It is now official that Portugal has ratified the Unitary Patent Court Agreement – Presidential Decree n.º 90/2015 dated August 6, 2015.”

    (Comment original posted to https://ipcopy.wordpress.com/unitary-patent-package/comment-page-1/#comment-13703)

  5. Anonymous says:

    In the meanwhile the English player hid the ball…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Considering that the shirts of the players are EU flags, I am seriously disappointed to see that Italy stays on the bench while the UK has even a reserved place on the field. It is unfair!

    And all this without even considering that Italy won 4 World Cups (1 for England) and 1 Euro Cup (zero for England!!!)

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