7 August 2015Patents

Portugal ratifies the UPC agreement

Portugal has officially ratified the Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement, raising the total number of signatories to eight.

The ratification was confirmed yesterday, August 6, after a notice was published in the country’s official gazette on legal developments. The document states that President Aníbal Cavaco Silva ratified the agreement on July 30.

In a statement on the ratification, published in English, the Portuguese government said the agreement will help to “improve the enforcement of patents and the defence against unfounded claims”.

The UPC will “enhance legal certainty” during “litigation relating to the infringement and validity of patents”, it added.

In April, Portugal’s national parliament approved the UPC agreement, but it required Silva’s consent before it could be fully ratified. Now the nation is required to deposit its instruments of ratification with the European Council.

For the UPC to be implemented, 13 countries—including France, the UK and Germany—need to ratify the agreement. So far, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Sweden have ratified the agreement.

The three divisions of the UPC will be based in France, Germany and the UK. The UPC’s appeals court will be based in Luxembourg.

But there have been concerns that the UPC will be delayed after the UK Parliament confirmed that there will be a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. The parliament passed the European Union Referendum Bill 2015-16 in June and the vote must take place before the end of 2017. A date for the vote has not yet been confirmed.

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