28 June 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

UPC preparatory committee eyes new start date

Despite uncertainty surrounding the Unified Patent Court (UPC), its preparatory committee remains hopeful for an early 2018 launch date.

Speaking in an emailed update on the UPC, Alexander Ramsay, chairman of the preparatory committee outlined a potential timeline for the UPC to enter into force sooner, rather than later, despite recent events.

Secondary legislation for the UPC was submitted to the UK parliament earlier this week. The UK IP Office said this was the final legislative step towards the UK’s ratification of the UPC.

Were this legislation to pass, the UK would be able to formally ratify the agreement, leaving Germany as the only EU member left to ratify before the agreement can come into force.

The UPC’s passage through Germany was halted last week after the country’s Federal Constitutional Court challenged the ratification.

Ramsay said the situation in Germany had added “another layer of complexity” to the court’s introduction and that it was therefore difficult to maintain a definitive starting date for the court.

He added that he was “hopeful the situation regarding the constitutional complaint in Germany will be resolved rather quickly”.

In a blog post earlier this month, the UPC preparatory committee said that the court would not be ready by its initial December 2017 launch date due to delays with various procedures that precede the period of provisional application.

The committee said: “The timetable for the start of the period of provisional application and for the entry into force of the UPC Agreement is relying on the timely finalisation of national procedures concerning the ratification of the UPC Agreement and the participation in the Protocol on Provisional Application.”

“In particular, a few member states must still agree to be bound by the protocol before the period of provisional application can start.”

Ramsay said a new timetable would be detailed on the preparatory committee’s website “as soon as the picture is clearer”.

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