It was predicted that the unitary patent and unified patent court will come into an effect early in 2014. Now it is obvious that it will take longer and now looks like it will be operational only in late 2015 or 2016. Implementation of the unitary patent requires prior ratification of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) by at least 13 member states, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK).
It is clear without saying that on May 14, 2014 the UK took a significant step forward in ratifying the UPC agreement. New UK Intellectual Property Bill received Royal Assent on 14 May, 2014 and passed into law as the Intellectual Property Act 2014. The new Act also relates to ratification and implementation of the UPC Agreement.
It is not clear yet how long it will take for the UK to ratify the UPC Agreement. There are predictions that the UK will ratify shortly before the next General Election in May 2015. Also it will be necessary for the UK Government to deposit the UK’s ratification instrument with the European Commission.
The European Commission has already confirmed that France ratified the UPC Agreement on 14 March, 2014 and became the second country which has completed the ratification formalities. Austria is the first EU member state to ratify the Agreement on the UPC (on 06 August, 2013).
UPC ratification is moving forward in Germany, too. The German Federal Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, has announced that he is planning to submit a draft law ratifying the agreement after the coming summer. He also informed about four local divisions based in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim, and Munich.
European Commission website of unitary patent ratification progress can be found here.