The 17th draft (dated 31 October 2014 and published on 3 November 2014) of the rules of procedure of the UPC (the UPC rules) underwent an oral hearing on 26 November 2014 in Trier. The 17th draft was released as a mark-up of the 16th draft which was itself a mark-up of the 15th draft. The resulting publication therefore showed the Legal Groups proposed amendments (the 17th draft, in blue) alongside the Expert Group's amendments (the 16th draft, in red)
The 16th draft, dated 31 January 2014 and published 6th March 2014 was issued in response to the consultation on the 15th draft (published 31 May 2013)and showed the Expert Group of the Unified Patent Court Preparatory Committee's suggested amendments but was not subject to any further public consultation. A table containing a digest of the comments received in the consultation and the decisions taken in relation to these and the composition of the 16th draft was issued at the same time – see here. In relation to the 17th draft a digest of the Legal Group's amendments was also published alongside the new draft (see here).
The 17th draft addressed concerns raised about some of ambiguities of the opt-out process, makes a number of minor amendments to issues relating to case management and interim orders, and also addresses what has been known as the "injunction gap" caused by bifurcation. The oral hearing concentrated on the changes set out by the Legal and Expert Groups. See our IP ebulletin here looking at the 17th draft in detail.
At a meeting on 10 July an 18th draft was presented to the Preparatory Committee by the coordinator of the Legal Framework and the Chair of the Drafting Committee. The draft was very well received according to the Preparatory Committee's press release and 'even if there were one or two items to settle' it was expected that a final set of rules may be concluded and agreed at the October meeting (understood to be 14 October).
At the same meeting in July a draft Protocol on Provisional Application of parts of the UPCA was agreed.