December 2017 Targeted for Launch of the Unified Patent Court (UPC)

26 January 2017

The Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has announced draft timescales for the UPC entering into force. This follows the earlier announcement by the UK government (in November 2016) of the UK’s intention to ratify the UPC, despite the Brexit vote.

The draft timescales are useful for users of the European patent system who are considering how to use the new Unitary Patent system as its implementation date draws closer.

The draft timescales are subject to both the UK and Germany completing ratification, alongside a number of other requirements, but provide a useful roadmap nonetheless.

The Provisional Application Phase (PAP) is expected to start from May 2017. The PAP involves the recruitment of judges and the testing of IT systems. It will also establish the system by which patent holders can opt-out their European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC.

The sunrise period is expected to begin in September 2017. In the sunrise period, early requests to opt-out European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC can be filed. The sunrise-period will last at least three months before the UPC officially enters into force.

The UPC is expected to enter into force in December 2017.

In the meantime, the UK has continued to prepare for ratification. Further legislation to enable ratification of the UPC (“The Privileges and Immunities Protocol”) was laid before the UK Parliament on 20 January 2017, and must now sit for 21 days before the next stage of the ratification procedure. 

Our Expert
George Tebbutt
George Tebbutt
Location: Bristol (UK)

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