Status of the Unitary Patent Court

At the beginning of 2017 the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court thought that it would be likely that the systems of the UPC would begin provisional operation before summer 2017 in advance of the UPC agreement coming into force later in the year. It appears likely that operation of the UPC system will be delayed for at least a further year.

Patent Court

At the beginning of 2017 the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court thought that it would be likely that the systems of the UPC would begin provisional operation before summer 2017 in advance of the UPC agreement coming into force later that year. It appears likely that launch of the UPC system will be delayed for at least a further year.

There are two major reasons for this:

First, German ratification of the UPC agreement (a necessary step for ratification and launch of the UPC) has been delayed by a referral to the German Federal Constitutional Court. This challenge to the legality of the UPC Agreement has had the results of that only limited further progress can be made by the UPC preparatory committee. Effectively, German ratification of the UPC agreement and beginning operation of the UPC are likely to be postponed for a least a year.

Secondly, the continuing uncertainty associated with Brexit means that it is likely that operation of the UPC will not begin until after the official date of Brexit set by Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon - 29 March 2019. However, it is expected that the UK will be in a position to ratify the UPC Agreement on Thursday 15 February 2018 when the final piece of legislation required to allow ratification of the UPC Agreement will be 'moved' onto the floor of the Houses of Parliament to take effect. After this, the next step will be for the Intellectual Property Office to request the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ratify the UPC Agreement on behalf of the UK. While the status of intellectual property in the Brexit negotiations is not known to those not privy to the negotiations it appears reasonable to surmise that ratification of the UPC Agreement might better allow substantive negotiations to take place regarding Britain's place in the UPC system.

In conclusion, it appears unlikely that the UPC system will begin to operate for at least another year.

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