Representatives of member states today signed a “Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on provisional application” (here).  The Protocol allows some parts of the UPC Agreement to be applied early, to enable final preparations for the Court to be made (such as recruitment of judges and testing IT systems) and early registration of opt-outs.  In its announcement (here) the Preparatory Committee states that it aims to complete its work by June 2016 with a view to the Court opening at the start of 2017.