Member States who are party to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement signed the Provisional Application Protocol on 1 October 2015 to allow the early implementation of some aspects of the UPC Agreement. A copy of the Protocol can be found here.

The Protocol allows final decisions to be made on the practical set up of the Court, for example, the recruitment of judges and testing of IT systems. The provisional application phase will also be used to allow for early registration of opt-out demands.

Following the signing of the Protocol, the UPC Preparatory Committee has announced that it “aims to complete its work by June 2016 with a view to the UPC opening at the start of 2017.”

The signing of the Protocol comes just a day after it was announced that Italy officially joins the enhanced cooperation on unitary patent protection.  In other words, protection of the European Unitary Patent will extend to Italy.  Italy is a major European market and Italy’s participation is viewed as a major breakthrough.  The European Commission press release can be found here.