The European unitary patent system is on the brink of becoming reality following Italian ratification of the Unified Patent Court agreement. The EU Council was formally notified on 10th February of the decision, making Italy the 12th country to finalise its membership. This means that once Germany and the United Kingdom do the same, the UPC will come into being. All the signs are that this will be sometime this year. When it does happen, it will be possible to obtain and enforce a single patent right in a market covering a population of over 300 million, including four G8 economies.

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