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Last week ratification legislation for the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) entered into force in Germany. This move follows years of delays caused by challenges to the UPCA in the German Federal Court.
On the face of it, the path to a functioning unitary patent system seems clear and a new operational start date of “around mid-2022” has been published by the UPC Preparatory Committee. However, a number of further steps and obstacles remain, some of which seem more than just formalities. (more…)
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. (more…)
The Unified Patent Court website announced last week that the target date for the entry into force of the UPC is going to be delayed (the date being targeted was 1 December 2017).
As noted in the announcement the entry into force date was subject to a number of factors such as completing the required number of national ratification procedures and getting enough countries to participate in the Protocol on Provisional Application. A new timetable is expected to be published soon. (more…)
[Update: a week, as probably no-one has said before, is a long time in UPC CMS development…
Since posting the article below I’ve realised1 that the CMS has been updated(!), one of the more obvious changes being that the opt-out section of the CMS has had a bit of a revamp. Some of the issues below are still valid concerns but the overall process looks a little different now. We’ll be reviewing the changes and will report back shortly.]
Although the entry into force date of the unitary patent system is uncertain the official line is still that the Unified Patent Court is on track to open its doors. The suggested start date of 1 December 2017 is almost certainly unachievable now that the UK has called a General Election but a go live date around Spring 2018 seems doable.
In light of the “business is usual” message from the Powers That BeTM attention is turning towards the mechanics of working with the UPC. CIPA has recently started its Getting Practical series of webinars and a future session is earmarked for a practical walkthrough of the Case Management System (CMS) that we’re all going to need to get to grips with.
IPcopy recently sat down to play around with the CMS and has some observations on the system. It is our understanding that the whole system has been developed pretty quickly and a lot of progress has been made in a short space of time which is pretty remarkable. That being said, from IPcopy’s point of view, there are still a number of issues that can be improved upon. We’ve only been looking at a subset of the features of the CMS, namely the opt-out process, so we’re not sure whether the issues below extend across the rest of the system. (more…)
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the UK announced at the EU Competitiveness Meeting in November that it would be continuing with its preparations for ratifying the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement.
In an article last week I noted that I was unsure of the steps the UK would need to take to ratify. Since then however I have very kindly been walked through the remaining steps of the ratification process in a conversation with Dr Laura Starrs at the UKIPO.
Following this conversation IPcopy understands the process as follows (Note: any errors or omissions in what follows are my fault alone!):
Following rumours that have been circulating since last week, the UK confirmed yesterday, at an EU Competitiveness Council meeting, that it will continue with its preparations for ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. This announcement seemingly gets the unitary patent system back on track and a start date at some point during 2017 once again seems a possibility.
The full announcement from the UK government can be found here and is also reproduced at the end of this post. In this post, IPcopy takes a closer look at what was said, what needs to happen next and then speculates what might happen post-Brexit. (more…)
Unitary Patent Package – The Ratification Game (The Netherlands completes its ratification formalities)
Update (15 September 2016)
According to the website of the Council of the European Union, the Netherlands has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 14 September 2016) to become the 11th country to complete its ratification formalities. The Netherlands joins Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the eleven countries who have completed their ratification processes.
The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify, including the UK, France and Germany. The target date for the unitary patent system was May 2017 but the result of the EU Referendum in the UK has thrown the timescale into doubt.
There are now enough countries to have ratified the the unified patent court agreement that the system will come into effect if just the UK and Germany complete their own ratification procedures. If the UK (and Germany) were to do this then it would open up a question about what will happen to the UK once Brexit happens. If the UK decides not to ratify the UPC agreement then the system will be on pause until either Brexit occurs or the various unitary patent agreements can be re-negotiated to remove the problems caused by the results of the UK’s EU Referendum from the equation.
Now that the Netherlands has completed all of the formalities we have updated our ratification infographic (for an answer to the question “What’s up with this infographic?“, please see the bottom of the post!”).
Despite the result of the referendum in the UK, it would appear that technical preparations for the Unified Patent Court are going to continue.
The UK’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement is a required step in bringing the unitary patent system into play. Without the UK’s participation the remaining members of the project are faced with either waiting for the UK to leave the EU (which appears to be at least 2.5 years away now) or renegotiating the UPC Agreement to remove the UK.
However, in a joint statement from the Chairmen of the UPC Preparatory Committee and the EPO Select Committee dealing with the Unitary Patent it is noted that “it is too early to assess what the impact of this vote [the Referendum] on the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent Protection eventually could be”. The statement ends with the Preparatory and Select Committees stating that “work dedicated to the technical implementation should continue to progress as envisaged.” (more…)
This Thursday, 23 June 2016, is of course Referendum Day here in the UK, the outcome of which could have a significant impact on the unitary patent system. This Thursday also marks the day on which two bills relating to Germany’s ratification procedure for the UPCA will come before the German parliament. This hearing is apparently the first of three hearings. With the German Parliament due to take a summer break throughout most of July and August it may be the autumn before the necessary steps have been taken to ratify the UPCA in Germany. [German Parliament calendar; Draft Bill 1; Draft Bill 2] (more…)
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. (more…)