The draft rules of procedure for the Unified Patent Court (the UPC Rules) have been published in their 17th draft (see here), following their examination by the Legal Group of the Preparatory Committee. The Expert Group reviewed them at the end of January 2014 (the 16th draft). 

There will now be an oral hearing on this 17th draft on 26 November 2014 at the European Law Academy in Trier in order to finalise the UPC Rules. 

The 17th draft is published in mark-up form – in fact, as a mark-up of the 16th draft which was itself published as a mark-up of the 15th draft. Thus the resulting publication shows the Legal Group's proposed amendments in blue and the Expert Group's previous amendments in red, on the same document.  Also published is a tabulated guide to the Legal Group's amendments (see here). The Expert Group published a similar guidance document to their amendments in March 2014 (see here).

The UPC Preparatory Committee website states that, as the work is progressing towards the preparation of the final draft, the oral hearing will exclusively concentrate on the changes set out by the Legal and Expert Groups. 

Due to the great interest in the UPC Rules and limited capacity at the hearing, attendance is by invitation only "ensuring that observations made represent a wide spectrum of users". More than 70 organisations have been invited to the hearing "as well as a group of experienced patent judges". Those not invited will be able to follow the hearing on-line via a webcast of the event (see www.era.int for further information in due course).