The Italian Chamber of Deputies, the Parliament’s lower house, has approved the draft bill on ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA).
According to a report of the Società Italiana Brevetti (SIB), there were 302 votes in favour, 108 against and 25 abstentions. The bill will now go to the Italian Senate.
Despite the Brexit vote in the UK, which was a serious setback for the Unitary Patent system as the UK is one of the mandatory signatories of the UPCA, the ratification processes in other member states seem to go ahead undisturbed. Yesterday, The Netherlands completed the process by depositing its ratification instrument with the Council of the EU. In a press release, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs announced it expects Germany to follow soon.
Thirteen ratifications, including those of France, Germany and the UK, are needed for the Unitary Patent system and the Unified Patent Court to launch. So far eleven countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden have ratified.
Meanwhile, the question whether the UK will or will not stay in the UP system and ratify the UPCA remains open, creating a lot of uncertainty about the future of the system. SIB reports that the Italian Committee for EU Policy has asked its government ‘to consider the opportunity, within the United Kingdom’s Brexit process, of requesting that Italy forward its candidacy for the seat of the Unified Patent Court’s central division originally assigned to London’.
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