Today we have an update on progress towards the unitary patent and the implementation of the UPC.
The Preparatory Committee met last week in Luxembourg to discuss a number of matters including the recruitment package for judicial appointments. Adverts for UPC judges should begin to appear from early next month. It is noted that UPC First Instance judges are to be paid in the region of 132,000 Euros per year and Court of Appeal judges will receive 144,000 Euros per year.
The Committee also discussed a draft code of conduct for practitioners. This code of conduct, which is not yet available for review, is expected to be signed towards the end of May.
Another signing ceremony, this time for the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, is due towards the end of June and is likely to be important for a number of Signatory States to complete their ratification process. As noted in the April issue of the UKIPO’s Connect newsletter, the UK will ratify the Agreement once preparations for the legislation on Privileges and Immunities are complete.
One country that isn’t waiting around for the above Protocol is Bulgaria which is apparently in a position to ratify the UPC Agreement by the end of this month. This will bring the total number of ratifications to 10 and would mean just the UK, Germany and one other country would be needed to bring the system online unless, of course, the UK votes to leave the EU on 23 June! In such a case Italy, Germany and one other country would need to complete ratification to bring the system online.
If the UK leaves the EU then one question that would need to be answered is where to put the London branch of the UPC. At least one argument in support of a new location (Brussels) has popped up online and no doubt more commentators will stake a claim for other locations as the UK Brexit Referendum gets closer.
Finally at the UPC Committee meeting the Rules on Arbitration and Rules of Operation of the Patent Mediation and Arbitration Centre were discussed. Some tweaks to the organisation rules and the rules on arbitration will be published at some unspecific point.
The next Preparatory Committee is due to meet next on 26 May.
Over in the UK, a case counting exercise has been published and the UK’s UPC Taskforce update notes that a communication strategy is being developed to ensure interested parties understand how the Court works. Video clips/animations are being developed to be placed on the IPO and UPC websites in late autumn.
Mark Richardson 19 April 2016