We’ve had some developments of sorts over the last week as far as ratification progress for the UK and Germany is concerned. A new version of the Case Management System for the UPC is also expected to arrive shortly.
We’ve previously covered the steps that the UK needs to take in order to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (see earlier post here) and the UK continued with this process last week when secondary legislation (Order on Privileges and Immunities) was laid in Parliament. The corresponding order that is needed in the Scottish Parliament will apparently be laid in due course.
The Order is subject to affirmative procedure which will means it will be debated in both a Commons and Lords committee.
IPcopy understands that the need for committee debate means that the UK won’t be able to progress its ratification procedures before parliament’s summer recess. So, assuming the Scottish Order gets underway soon, it looks like it will be Autumn at the earliest before Boris Johnson, as Foreign Secretary, gets to sign off the letter that will mean we’ve formally ratified the Agreement.
While the UK is inching along in its ratification process things have ground to a halt in Germany as a result of a suit lodged in the German Constitutional Court. No real details are available about the complaint that has been made and no one really seems to know how long it will take to resolve.
The Court in question sits, as far as we are aware, through July and into early August so it’s conceivable we suppose that something could happen in the near future. However, it’s also been mentioned that there could be a delay of 6 or more months.
While the exact timescale for the German complaint is unknown it is not possible to say when the unitary patent system will get off the ground. The UPC Preparatory Committee is now looking at the beginning of 2018 (not January 2018 we understand, just “the beginning of the year”) as the earliest point that the sunrise position can start. So it looks like May/June 2018 for the earliest point the UPC will open.
It is however a distinct possibility that the opening of the UPC could be delayed even further which might then bring the end of the Brexit Article 50 period (end of March 2019) into play.
Will the UK want to ratify if we get much closer to Brexit day?
Case Management System (CMS)
It is IPcopy’s understanding, following a recent conversation with Eileen Tottle (Head of Secretariat, UPC Preparatory Committee) that a new “pared down” version of the CMS will be making an appearance in the next couple of weeks.
This new version of the CMS will apparently focus on the “opt-out” process rather than being the full service version that we presently can access.
IPcopy will be interested to give the new version a test drive as soon as it appears. Readers should also be encouraged to sign up for a test account (it only takes a few minutes) and to familiarise themselves with the CMS.
Mark Richardson 3 July 2017