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Another Step Closer to the Unitary Patent

The EU "unitary patent" took a step closer to being established on 15 October when a further EU state ratified the preparatory protocol. The EU unitary patent is intended to be a single patent right having effect in the territory of the participating EU members, overseen by a new Unified Patent Court (UPC).

According to the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court, Slovenia has become the twelfth state to ratify the Protocol on the Provisional Application of the UPC Agreement (PAP-Protocol) and the sixteenth state to ratify the UPC Agreement. The PAP-Protocol brings certain aspects of the UPC Agreement into force provisionally, allowing the UPC to be set up as an institution before the UPC system itself is fully operational. This includes the recruitment of judges and budgeting arrangements for the court.

The Preparatory Committee reports that just one further state is required to ratify the PAP-Protocol before the phase of provisional application of the UPC agreement can officially start. It has been reported that Austria is likely to do so soon. Completion of the remaining ratification of the PAP-Protocol will effectively establish the UPC as an operational international organisation.

This is an important step forwards for the UPC. Once the UPC preparations are complete, it is intended that Germany will deposit the final ratification required for the UPC Agreement to come into force. This will start the four-month period leading to the day the UPC is able to take its first cases.