UPC Preparatory Committee acknowledges December 1st start date cannot be maintained and announces change to UPC timetable

In a formal acknowledgement of what was already generally accepted, yesterday, June 7th, the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) published a statement (here) announcing that the timetable for the start of the UPC Agreement provisional application period (PAP) and the start date for entry into operation of the UPC, targeted for 1 December 2017, cannot be met.

The Preparatory Committee did not provide a new target date at this stage, but it has committed to publishing a new timetable as soon as possible.

As I discussed in my blog post yesterday, the reason for the postponement is that some Member States have not yet completed the steps required to ratify the UPC Agreement’s Protocol on Provisional Application. The Protocol on Provisional Application allows the “provisional application phase” to start, during which final preparations for the start of the UPC system, such as recruitment of judges, testing the IT system including the Case Management System (CMS), can be completed.

At last week’s meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council, Commissioner, Elzbieta Bieńkowska, acknowledged that the target date of May 29th which was set for the start of the provisional application period (PAP), had turned out to be too optimistic.  Agreement of three member states on the Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA)’ is still needed before the Provisional Application period can start.

The Protocol will come into force the day after 13 states (including France, Germany and the UK) have either ratified or formally informed the “depositary” that they have parliamentary approval to ratify the UPC Agreement; and have consented to be bound by the Protocol on Provisional Application.

Eight Member States already meet this requirement (Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden); and both Germany and the UK have each consented to the Protocol. Austria, Bulgaria, Malta and Portugal have each ratified the UPC Agreement but have not yet consented to the Protocol.  In addition, it seems other countries (such as Greece, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia) may be in a position to enable the Provisional Application Phase to start before the summer break.

 

Marie Walsh

June 8th 2017

(Coincidentally voting day in the UK general election)

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