According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Latvia has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 11 January 2018) to become the 15th country to complete its ratification formalities. Latvia joins Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the fifteen countries who have completed their ratification processes.
The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. Brexit in the UK and a court challenge in the German Federal Constitutional Court (GFCC) has put the brakes on the progress of the unitary patent system.
As noted on IPcopy* the combination of the GFCC challenge and Brexit almost certainly puts an unrealistic pressure on getting the unitary patent system up and running before the UK leaves the EU. In the meantime however it seems that countries like Latvia are continuing to make preparations.
The next stage in the UK is expected to be the approval of the Immunities and Privileges Order in the Privy Council. This could well take place in February. In Germany the next development is expected later this year (possibly in the Spring) when the GFCC will decide whether the case that has been brought is admissible or not.
Assuming the German complaint is regarded as admissible then this will, barring any significant Brexit developments, signal the end of the unitary patent system in its current form.
IPcopy’s summary UPC ratification post has been updated to reflect Latvia’s ratification and can be found here.
Mark Richardson 30 January 2018