EU Commission calls on contracting member states to intensify efforts:
During the EU Competitiveness Council that took place on 29th and 30th May “(s)everal delegations and the Commission called on member states to intensify their efforts so as to bring this major reform into operation as quickly as possible.”
Similarly, in anticipation of this meeting the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the British Chambers of Commerce had addressed a letter to the UK government and a press release to this effect. In both communications the chambers urge the Government to “do everything within its powers to facilitate the completion of the complex and lengthy ratification process, regardless of the general election and Article 50 negotiations”. The chambers also encouraged the UK government “to continue to play a constructive and active role in ensuring that the Unitary Patent becomes a reality as soon as possible.”
The provisional application phase start date originally planned for “end of spring 2017”:
Indeed, the Preparatory Committee had recently set the end of May as its target date for the beginning of the provisional application phase. However, as highlighted by the EU commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska at the last EU competitiveness council, this target date has not been met. This means that the possibility for the UPC to become operational by the end of 2017 is looking bleak.
The EU Commissioner pointed out that even the protocol on provisional application could not be implemented yet. In fact, it still lacks the ratification of three contracting member states having already ratified the UPC Agreement. This means that the provisional application phase is being delayed. In the Commissioner’s view this is particularly troublesome. She argues that if the provisional application phase is delayed beyond the summer break the UPC will not become operational in 2017.
The Commissioner however also specifically pointed out that the UK has still not ratified the UPCA. This is of course due to the general elections that will take place in June 2017. The UK minister has nonetheless declared that the UK still wished to participate in the UPC and will ratify the UPCA.