19 January 2017
Unified Patent Court expected to launch in December 2017
The Preparatory Committee of the European Unified Patent Court (UPC) has announced that it expects the UPC to become operational in December this year.
However, the announcement comes with the disclaimer that the launch of the UPC is dependent on the timing of a number of factors, such as ratification of the UPC Agreement by key members (UK, France and Germany).
Despite continuing uncertainty for the future of the UPC following the “Brexit” vote, the UK recently indicated that it intends to ratify the UPC Agreement in April 2017. France has already ratified the Agreement and Germany is expected to ratify shortly after the UK.
For proprietors of European patents granted under the current European patent system, there will be a 3 month sunrise period to opt out from the jurisdiction of the UPC. This is expected to start in early September 2017.
Once the UPC is operational, it will be possible to apply for and obtain a Unitary Patent covering all UPC states, in contrast to the bundle of national patents that is offered by a classical European patent.
We will be providing further updates on the UPC in the coming months