BULGARIA RATIFIES THE PROTOCOL ON PROVISIONAL APPLICATION OF THE UPC AGREEMENT
On June 6th 2018, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted at second reading the Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). The Unified Patent Court (the Court) is established via an international agreement: the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) as of 19 February 2013. The Court shall have legal personality in each Contracting Member State and shall enjoy the most extensive legal capacity accorded to legal persons under the national law of the said State.
Bulgaria ratified the Agreement on 8 April 2016, with the Ratification Law being promulgated by publication in the State Gazette No 32 from 22 April 2016.
The Court shall comprise a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal and a Registry. A local division shall be set up in a Contracting Member State upon its request in accordance with the Statute. A Contracting Member State hosting a local division shall designate its seat, provide infrastructure and compose staff for its administration. The PPA of the UPCA is part of the document package which ratification by the Member States, already ratified UPCA, is required for the day-to-day work of the Court. The PPA of the UPCA shall allow the provisional application of the institutional, financial and administrative provisions of the UPCA and shall enable the necessary legal and practical arrangements to be made in contemplation of the establishment of the UPC, The text of the PPA of the UPCA has been negotiated by a Preparatory Committee at its 11th Meeting and at a ceremony for signing of the Protocol, held in the end of the Council on Competitiveness in October 2015.
The text of the Protocol was agreed by a Decision on Protocol No 33 of the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 2 August 2017. The Protocol was signed on behalf of the Bulgarian Government on 11 September 2017 and was subject to subsequent ratification. The provisional application phase shall allow the Contracting Member States to constitute different managing bodies – the Administrative Committee, the Budget Committee, the Advisory Committee and the Presidium – and to adopt all legal texts, to take decisions and to appoint officials in accordance with the UPCA Procedures and the Statute.
The establishment of the Unified Patent Court shall ensure uniform applicability in the field of the patent protection. The Court will avoid the occurrence of multiple court cases with regard to the same patent in different member states. This will also prevent contradictory court rulings on the same issues. It will also reduce the costs for patent litigation.The Agreement shall ensure the quality and effectiveness of the proceedings in the field of the patent protection. It foresees special requirements on the qualification of judges - since patent litigation is subject to many difficult technical issues, the different panels of the Court will be composed not only by legally qualified judges, but also by technically qualified ones.
The establishment of the UPC, along with the unitary patent protection, shall further improve the investment environment in Bulgaria by giving the local and foreign enterprises better chances for protection of their technological developments and by improving the conditions for innovation activity on the territory of Bulgaria. The unitary patent protection will also encourage scientific and technical progress and the better functioning of the internal market by making access to the patent system easier, cheaper and more secure from a legal point of view.