What is the likely timetable?

In order to come into effect, 13 EU countries need to ratify the agreement on the UPC, including France, Germany and the UK.

In August 2013, Austria was the first country to deposit its ratification instrument. France deposited its instrument of ratification in April 2014; notable because France is one of the countries (together with Germany and the UK) which must ratify in order for the Agreement to come into force – four months after the final deposit of the relevant instruments of ratification. 

By February 2016, a total of 9 Member States had ratified the agreement on the UPC; Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Sweden.  Ratification details can be found via the European Council.

The timetable for ratification is such that the UK will not ratify before Spring 2016. The UK government has also promised an assessment of the economic impact of the unitary patent system before the UK ratifies. The earliest UPs are not expected until late 2016 at the earliest, and more likely 2017.