UPC (Unified Patent Court)
A single patent court covering 25 countries.
January 16, 2017 – The Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee has announced that the UPC would become operational from December 2017 and working under the assumption that the provisional application phase could start in May 2017. It confirmed that judicial interviews can begin and appointments eventually confirmed. To date, all European Union Member States except Spain and Poland have signed the Agreement.
The start for the possibility to opt out European patents is now planned for early September 2017 which will provide a minimum of 3 months for patent holders who wish to opt out their patents to do so before the Court becomes operational. The planned timetable is conditional with the clear disclaimer that there are a number of factors that will dictate success. The most important factors in meeting these dates is the necessary ratifications of the UPCA and accession to the Protocol on Provisional Application. If these are not achieved the time-plan will change.
The final Preparatory Committee meeting will take place in March 2017, and in due course, updates and details will be published on this website. The Preparatory Committee will exist until the Court is established. Those who have applied for judicial appointments will be contacted separately. Lawyers have stated that the intellectual property world “feels a lot more positive about the future” following the announcement that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is expected to come into force.
What is the UPC?
The Unified Patent Court will be a court common to those of the Member States and thus also part of their judicial system. It will have exclusive competence in respect of European patents and European patents with unitary effect. The UPC’s rulings will have effect in the territory of those Member States having ratified the UPC Agreement at the given time. The UPC will not have any competence with regard to national patents. The UPC Agreement is open to accession by any Member State of the European Union. The Agreement is not open to states outside of the European Union.