The upper house (Eerste Kamer) of the Dutch parliament ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement yesterday. Subject to deposition of the instrument of ratification, the Netherlands will therefore become the 11th state to ratify the UPC Agreement.
The UPC and unitary patent system cannot enter into force without German and British ratification. Although the British ratification procedure was well-advanced, the result of last week’s referendum, in which 52% of participants voted for a British withdrawal from the EU, means that it is questionable whether British ratification will be completed. A so-called “Brexit” could, at the very least, delay the start of the UPC and unitary patent system, potentially by two years or more. In the worst case scenario, “Brexit” could derail the project entirely.
Despite this, the UPC Preparatory Committee seems to be intent on pressing ahead with preparations, which are expected to be complete by early October. With a new British Prime Minister expected to take office at the start of September, it is to be hoped that this will result in some clarity emerging on the future of the UPC and Britain’s place within it.