An update from the UPC Preparatory Committee on September 21st 2017, has welcomed the recent ratifications of the UPCA, bringing the total to 14 Member States. Above is a map depicting the current status of the countries that have ratified the UPC Agreement.
Prior to this, the EPO published its Unitary Patent Guide which details the procedures for obtaining and maintaining Unitary Patents including deadlines, fees, language regimes, file inspection and legal remedies.
However, the real question right now is WHEN is this system going to actually start?
The authors of the comprehensive EPO Unitary Patent Guide are likely to have been disappointed to learn about the constitutional challenge in Germany which is going to at least delay, the introduction of the Unified Patent Court, and indeed, if the Constitutional challenge is successful, will put a halt to the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court.
The Constitutional challenge was lodged by a German intellectual property attorney who argues that the UPC is not sufficiently independent and that the UPC does not have democratic legitimacy. He has further submitted that the Unified Patent Court Agreement contradicts European Union law and has been a staunch critic of the UPCA since its announcement. The court has not yet decided whether the challenge is admissible, but if it deems it so, it will then begin to consider the arguments submitted. There is no established timeline for such a process.
We will continue to keep our clients updated on any progress.
Marie Walsh and Dr. Elizabeth Jennings.