Estonia, Latvia Move Closer to Ratification of UPC Agreement
Estonia recently adopted two laws moving it closer to the ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. The first law, enabling Estonia to ratify both the UPC Agreement and the Agreement on a Nordic-Baltic regional division, was adopted on June 8, 2017 and entered into force on June 26, 2017.
The second law introducing relevant amendments to Estonian legislation was adopted on June 14, 2017 and signed by the President on June 22, 2017. The law is expected to be published in the Official Gazette shortly, ten days after which it will enter into force.
Once this law enters into force, the national ratification procedure will be completed and Estonia will be able to deposit its instrument of ratification with the Council of the EU.
Latvia also adopted a law enabling it to ratify the UPC Agreement on March 30, 2017. This law will enter into force on January 1, 2018.
The Latvian Parliament is also working on a draft law to ratify the Agreement on the Nordic-Baltic regional division, which is yet to go through its second reading.
The UPC Agreement was signed in Brussels on February 19, 2013. The UPC will be a court common to the contracting states and thus part of their judicial system. It will have exclusive competence with regard to European patents and European patents with unitary effect.
In 2014, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden signed an agreement on the establishment of the Nordic-Baltic Regional Division of the UPC, whose seat and sub-registry will be in Stockholm, Sweden. It is expected that in some situations cases may be heard in Lithuania as well.
The UPC Agreement enters into force on the first day of the fourth month after at least 13 member states have deposited their instrument of ratification, including the three states with most European patents (France, Germany and the United Kingdom).
While the target date for the UPC to become operational was December 1, 2017, it has been pushed to 2018, according to a recent message from UPC Preparatory Committee Chairman Alexander Ramsay. This is due to the pause in the German ratification process following a recent complaint against the ratification bill lodged in the German Constitutional Court by an unnamed individual.
Prepared by: Djurdja Krivokapić
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Source: Latvian legislation website Likumi.lv, Estonian Parliament website, UPC website
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