In February 2017 Italy became the 12th EU Member State to ratify the Agreement before the Unitary Patent Court (UPC). At this stage, only the ratification of Great Britain (rumoured to happen in March) and Germany (rumoured to happen in May) is missing for the UPC become operational.
Once the European Patent with Unitary Effect has entered into full force, it will allow for consistent and uniform patent protection in a large part of the European Union.
The UPC is still on track to enter into force by the end of 2017. As soon as the European Patent with Unitary Effect regime is fully in force, a request for Unitary Effect will have to be made within one month from the date of grant of a European Patent.
Intellectual property attorneys are recommending business start preparing now with the UPC set to opening in December 2017 by reviewing their patent portfolios and evaluating their patent strategies.