Unified Patent Court

The arrival of the UPC is now fast approaching. There have now been sufficiently many ratifications of the UPC Agreement, that the only required ratifications are now the UK and Germany. The UK is expected to ratify the agreement sometime before the end of March. German parliamentary approval for ratification is expected sometime in late Spring with the formal deposit of the instrument of ratification being delayed until early autumn 2017 to provide time for the preparations of the court to come into existence which is likely to occur sometime in December 2017 four months after the final required ratification is deposited. Pursuant to the Sunrise Protocol, patentees will be available to opt out their patents from four months prior to its opening.


The original target open date of May 2017 was set back by the Brexit vote and the uncertainty that followed.

Rowan Freeland organised a consortium of the IP Federation, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, and several law firms, to seek an Opinion from EU Constitutional law experts, Richard Gordon QC and Tom Pascoe on whether the UK would be able to continue to play a part in the UPC after leaving the EU. For reasons set out in that Opinion, provided certain steps are taken, it seems that UK should not have to leave the UPC upon Brexit.

Ultimately, the UK Government announced in November 2016 that it will ratify the Agreement, and since then the UK has continued by ratifying the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities in December 2016. Formal UK ratification of the UPC is expected to occur in March prior to the UK government triggering Article 50 imitating the process for leaving the EU. The UPC agreement will then come into existence when Germany ratifies the agreement which is expected to occur in the autumn.


Timeline

Keep an eye on the latest news and navigate the historical events leading up to the UPC using the interactive timeline below

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Microsite reviewed: December 2016
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This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.