Yesterday, the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) announced that the previously stated target date for the entry into operation of the UPC, envisaged for December 2017, will now be delayed.

The timetable for the start of the period of provisional application and for the entry into force of the UPC Agreement is relying on the timely finalisation of national procedures concerning ratification of the UPC Agreement and the participation in the Protocol on Provisional Application. The reason behind the postponement is that some Member States have not yet completed the steps required to declare themselves bound by the Protocol.

The Protocol on Provisional Application allows various parts of the Agreement to come into force early and the ‘provisional application phase' to start, during which final preparations for the start of the UPC system, such as recruitment of judges, can be completed.

The Committee have not announced a new target date at this stage, but have said that the progress of national procedures concerning the ratification of the UPC Agreement and the participation in the Protocol is being continuously monitored with a view to publish a new timetable as soon as possible.