Monday, 10 February 2014

Malta to ratify Unitary patent agreement (?)

Last week at IIR's Unitary Patent Package conference, I heard the rumor that Malta has ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.

The ratification has not yet appeared on the EU website that tracks the unitary patent ratification progress. On the website of the Maltese Parliament, I can find what appears to be the minutes of 21 January 2014 (Sitting Number 110).

According to Google Translate section 78 of that document concerns the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.  The final section (in typical MT English style) reads:

Authorizing the Maltese Parliament to ratify the Agreement ( Unified Patent Court's ) Unified Patent Court ( UPC ) which was signed on 19 February 2013 , his copies in the English language is annexed to this the resolution .

The Hon . Jason Azzopardi seconded .

In discussing participated Hon. Owen Bonnici and Hon . Jason Azzopardi .

The motion passed nem.con .

Make of this what you will, but assuming that Malta has ratified the UPC this is a significant development.  First of course, it is one more country towards the 13 needed for the UPC to enter into force; 2 down -- 11 to go.

Second, it means that the 'Malta' problem will definitely be an issue when the UPC enters into force. As I blogged earlier; Malta became a member of the EPC on March 1, 2007. If your application was filed before that date, you will not get a grant for Mata. Accordingly, you cannot fulfill the main condition required for unitary effect, namely, same claims for all UPC states. Ipcopy had the same concerns.

Now that it appears the Malta has ratified, this question has become less theoretical. It would be interesting to get an opinion from the EPO on this point.

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