When does the unitary patent package enter into force?
The international agreement creating a unified patent court will enter into force on 1 January 2014 or after thirteen contracting states ratify it, provided that UK, France and Germany are among them.
The other two acts will apply from 1 January 2014, or from the date when the international agreement enters into force, whichever is the latest. The European Commission will report on how the new regime is working three years after it takes effect.
Spain and Italy out... for now
The package as a whole is being dealt with via the "enhanced cooperation procedure", which allows groups of member states to move ahead together, even where others do not agree. Spain and Italy have so far opted out of the unitary patent package, but could join in the decision-making process at any time. This procedure was used to break a deadlock, mainly due to language issues, that lasted over thirty years.