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The Agreement on the UPC was signed on 19 February 2013 by all of the EU 's member states, except Croatia, Poland and Spain. The Agreement will enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by 13 member states, including the United Kingdom (UK), France and Germany (who are the three mandatory participants).
We are pleased to announce that Sweden became the third state to ratify the Agreement on 5 June 2014.
Austria and France are the only other states so far to have ratified the Agreement and did so on 6 August 2013 and 14 March 2014 respectively.
The UK 's Intellectual Property Bill, which was given Royal Assent on 14 May 2014, enables the UK to bring the UPC into effect by ratifying the Agreement. The UK is unlikely to complete all of the steps for ratification until late 2015.
It is our understanding that the German Federal Minister of Justice announced in March 2014 that Germany is planning to begin the process towards ratification after the summer.
Denmark took a big step towards ratifying the Agreement on 25 May 2014 when its referendum on joining the UPC was approved.
Commentators have suggested that the UPC will become operational in late 2015 or early 2016. However, given the current rate of ratification and the fact that the UK (as one of the three mandatory participants) is unlikely to ratify the Agreement until late 2015, the UPC may not be in operation until even later.
Further information about unitary patent protection and the UPC may be found here.