[Update (12.8.13) – Austria has apparently deposited its instrument of ratification. The Info graphic and State of Play text below have been updated.]
As discussed in our Q&A post on the unitary patent package, the unified patent court agreement requires 13 or more participating member states to ratify the agreement before the unitary patent system can get up and running. Furthermore, three of those 13 member states need to be France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
We will be following the ratification process here on IPcopy but thought we’d try and do so via the medium of football and info graphics.
So, without further ado here’s the process of ratification re-imagined in the form of a (wildly stretched) football analogy. The European team “UPP United” (Unitary Patent Package) are at the ground for their match against the Rest of the World (an aim of the unitary patent system is to make the European patent system more competitive compared to the systems in the US and Japan). This being a slightly inaccurate analogy the European team will comprise 13 players (instead of the usual 11) and will form up in a 5-5-2 formation! The info graphic is below and more notes are further down the post. We hope you enjoy.
Only, France, Germany and the UK are guaranteed a place in the first XIII but to get out on the pitch they need to prove their match fitness (i.e. they need to ratify the unified patent court agreement). Once we have 13 players (UK, FR, DE plus 10 others) then the game can get underway. Remaining players will form up on the bench.
State of Play (as of 12 August 2013)
Number of countries on the pitch = 1.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry website indicates that Austria’s instrument of ratification has been deposited in Brussels. This is also confirmed on the official page of the European Commission.
Austria has therefore won the race to be the first country to ratify the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court.
Austria has now been added to the info-graphic above. Since Austria’s football captain, Christian Fuchs, plays at left back that seemed a good place to add Austria.
State of Play (as of 5 March 2013)
Number of countries on the pitch = 0.
Following on from the 19 February 2013 update, Bulgaria has now signed the unified patent court agreement.
State of Play (as of 19 February 2013)
Number of countries on the pitch = 0.
On 19 February 2013 at a signing ceremony in Brussels a total of 24 out of a possible 27 countries signed the unified patent court agreement (UPC agreement). As expected below, Poland decided not to sign the agreement. They were joined by Bulgaria (who have every intention of signing once some internal issues have been resolved) and Spain.
Italy joined 23 other member states in signing the agreement meaning that, should the required 13 signatures be received, the unified patent court will have competence in respect of European patents that have been validated in Italy.
The ratification game info graphic has been updated to reflect these changes. Spain remain on the coach but Italy have entered the changing rooms. To acknowledge the fact that Italy have not joined the enhanced cooperation club and that unitary patents will not be able to extend to Italy, the Italian team shirt is purple whereas the other team members in the changing room are wearing blue – perhaps the Italian player can go in goal once Italy ratify the UPC agreement.
Since Bulgaria intends to sign the UPC agreement they have not been sent for an early bath with Poland or back to the coach to join Spain. Instead they have merely mislaid their kit. As soon as they’ve found it they’ll return to the changing rooms.
State of Play (as of 6 February 2013)
Number of countries on the pitch = 0 [The unified court agreement is open for signature from 19 February and the official timetable hopes that the required number of countries will ratify the agreement by the end of 2013]
Poland have taken an early bath as they are now going to “wait and see” if they want to join the game.
Italy and Spain have stayed on the coach because they don’t want to play unless the tactics meeting is in Italian/Spanish.
Croatia are a late call up and may join the game at some point during 2013. [Croatia are due to join the EU in July 2013. As they are already part of the EPC they could apply to join the enhanced cooperation regime, ratify the court agreement and become part of the unitary patent system]
We will update this post and the info graphic as and when we get players on the pitch or we get news of further developments (referendum delays etc.).
Mark Richardson 12 August 2013 (with thanks to Kaya Elkiner for the image assets) [first published 6 February 2013, updated: 23 February 2013, 5 March 2013, 12 August 2013]
Don’t you think that players’d rather wear shirts with EPO logo than EU logo?