The EU Commission announced on September 30, 2015 that Italy has joined the Unitary Patent (UP) scheme. Italy had previously signed the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. Italy’s participation in both the UP and UPC will be effective after Italy ratifies the UPC Agreement and once the minimum ratification requirements (13 EU states including France, Germany and the UK) are met. See here. This is a very positive development if it does not cause the EPO Select Committee to increase the projected UP renewal fees. More news on proposed renewal fees is expected following the committee’s meeting on October 13-14, 2015.
The UPC Preparatory Committee announced on October 1, 2015 that a Protocol on provisional application of parts of the UPC Agreement has been signed. It allows some parts of the UPC Agreement to be applied early, including the recruitment of judges, testing of IT systems and early registration of opt-out demands. See here for additional information.
The October 1st announcement also indicated that the target date for UPC opening is “at the start of 2017.”