As previously reported Italy had formally requested to join the unitary patent. We’ve now heard (thanks to ipcopyreader Giuseppe Colucci) that Italy’s request to join the system has now been processed and Italy has become the 26th member of the enhanced cooperation group on unitary patent protection (Spain and Croatia are the two EU countries missing from the club).
A press release from the European Commission can be found here which notes that Italian companies “will save significant amounts of time and cost when applying for patents”. That statement is, of course, a little misleading as the unitary patent system will not impact the current European patent application process and only kicks in at the validation stage….
8 member states have ratified the UPC agreement so far (and also deposited their instruments of ratification). 13 states in total are needed and two of the remaining five need to be the UK and Germany. A target start date of late 2016 seems to be current view.
Mark Richardson 1 October 2015