August 21, 2013
Lexology reports that the Austrian Foreign Ministry announced the country’s decision to ratify the UPC agreement on 8 August, becoming the first EU member country to do so. The agreement will mean that a single court system could be established in Europe to handle the enforcement and validity of patents, replacing the current “fragmented” system which sees patents being enforced in national courts separately. It is also expected to streamline the patent application process.
While Austria alone will not make the UPC become a reality, the agreement will come into force once the UK, Germany and nine other member states also ratify the agreement, which was officially signed on 19 February 2013 in Brussels by 24 EU members. The agreement is part of the “Unitary Patent Package” which includes the creation of a “unitary patent right” covering most of the EU states.
While Croatia, which has recently joined the EU, will now have the opportunity to consent to the agreement, Polish politicians have reportedly indicated that Poland will not sign the agreement at this time, instead opting to wait to see how the system works in other countries. Spain and Italy have previously opposed the idea of a UFC.
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