The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria approved the text of the Protocol on Provisional Application of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“the Protocol”) on 2nd August 2017 and it’s expected that Bulgaria’s signature will soon be recorded with the General Secretariat of the EU Council. The Protocol admits certain provisions of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“the Agreement”) to enter into force earlier. The Protocol shall come into force on the day after France, Germany, the UK plus ten other Member States have ratified or informed the depositary that they have parliamentary approval to ratify the Agreement and have consented to be bound by the PPA. At this stage, France, the UK, and eight other countries have completed the procedure required for the PPA to come into force (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden). On 3rd June 2016 Bulgaria become the tenth Member State to ratify the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.
Earlier in June 2017 the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court published a statement announcing that the timetable for the start of the Agreement provisional application period and target date for entry into operation of the UPC, envisaged for 1 December 2017, will have to be postponed. The Committee did not provide a new target date at this stage, but committed to publishing a new timetable as soon as possible. The reason behind the postponement is that some Member States have not yet completed the steps required to declare themselves bound by the Protocol.