Estonia has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement. According to the website of the European Council, it completed the ratification formalities on 1 August 2017.

Estonia joins Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden as one of the thirteen countries who have completed their ratification processes.

Ratification by 13 UPC member states, including the United Kingdom and Germany, is necessary in order for the Unitary Patent system to launch. The UK and Germany were expected to complete the process this month at the latest, but this has been delayed by the Brexit and the general elections in the UK and by an unexpected and mysterious constitutional complaint in Germany. Instead of starting in December 2017, the UPC Preparatory Committee now expects the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court to begin functioning in the first half of 2018.

Another issue is the Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA), which allows for some parts of the UPCA to be applied early. In the provisional period, judges will be appointed and other practical preparations completed. Support from 13 member states whose parliaments have ratified the UPCA, is required before the provisional period can begin. As Alexander Ramsay, chairman of the UPC Preparatory Committee announced last June: ‘even considering Estonia and the UK, three additional approvals of the PPA, including Germany, are necessary in order for the preparations to be completed for this final phase (provisional application period).’

It isn’t clear whether Estonia has also given its consent to the PPA. According to a Bristows report it has. Still, on the website of the EU Council, Estonia isn’t mentioned as one of the states that have given their support to the PPA. (UPDATE: Since the publication of this blogpost the EU Council’s website has been updated to include Estonia, which apparently notified its consent to the start of the PPA in July)

In Ireland, Taoiseach – prime minister – Leo Varadkar announced last week that three sets of referendums may be run over the next two years, including a referendum on joining the Unitary Patent system. According to the Irish Times, Varadkar said: ‘The windows that we have in mind are around June/July next year, another set in November at the same time as the presidential election and then another set in May or June 2019 at the same time as the local and European elections.’ It isn’t clear in which of these three the UP referendum will be held. This will be announced after the summer recess, in September 2017, according to the Irish Times.

Ireland is one of the few UP member states in which a referendum is required as part of the ratification procedure. Denmark held such referendum in 2014.

For regular updates on the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, subscribe to this blog and the free Kluwer IP Law Newsletter.


To make sure you do not miss out on regular updates from the Kluwer Patent Blog, please subscribe here.

Kluwer IP Law

The 2022 Future Ready Lawyer survey showed that 79% of lawyers think that the importance of legal technology will increase for next year. With Kluwer IP Law you can navigate the increasingly global practice of IP law with specialized, local and cross-border information and tools from every preferred location. Are you, as an IP professional, ready for the future?

Learn how Kluwer IP Law can support you.

Kluwer IP Law
This page as PDF


  1. Interesting to see that reports on the same topic are now popping up on Bristows’ UPC website and here almost in parallel, Kluwer making reference to the Bristows piece. The postings seem to be well coordinated. Still missing is a similar contribution on the IPkat (usually by the Bristows people in charge there), but I’m sure we will see that soon.

  2. Good to see to that the preparations are going on despite the several uncertainties involved. Maybe all the current worries will in the end turn out to have been nothing more than a tempest in a teapot so that the reported efforts will allow the UPC to come to life without too much delay.

Comments are closed.