Lithuania completed the ratification formalities of the Unified Patent Court Agreement on 24 August 2017 by depositing its instrument of ratification with the secretariat of the EU Council in Brussels.
It is the 14th member state to do so. Earlier this month, Estonia ratified the UPCA. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden have also completed the procedure. In order for the UPC to launch, ratification by 13 member states, including the UK and Germany is needed. However, in these two countries the procedure has been delayed by the Brexit and a constitutional complaint in Germany.
Lithuania has not yet signed the Protocol on Provision Application (PPA) of the UPCA. Entry into force of the PPA is indispensable for the completion of the preparations for the start of the Unitary Patent system. Over the last year, the UPC Preparatory Committee has been working hard to gather support for it.
As is explained in article 3 of the PPA, it enters into force the day after 13 Signatory States of the UPCA, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom, have either ratified, or informed the depositary that they have received parliamentary approval to ratify, the UPCA and consented to be bound by the PPA.
According to a Bristows report, Lithuania declined to sign because earlier this year it was expected that the PPA would start in May ‘whereas Lithuania’s law ratifying the UPCA would not be in force until 1 July. Therefore (…) it is possible that Lithuania may decide to participate. If it does so, then, in addition to Germany, one more country must take action (…).’