The UPC Preparatory Committee met for the last time yesterday before the Provisional Application Phase of the UPC begins. We learned from the Committee’s report (published here) that they have agreed a few minor amendments to the Rules of Procedure and that the updated version will appear on their website shortly. The Committee also agreed a final suite of legal, HR and financial documents as well as agreeing a state of readiness for the Provisional Application Phase. The Committee was informed that a team is already working to oversee the recruitment of judges; testing of the IT and case management system; and to ensure that resources are in place and personnel trained to allow readiness for when the Court opens.
Whilst the period of provisional application cannot begin until the required Signatory States have ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement and acceded to (or agreed to be bound by) the Protocol on Provisional Application, the Preparatory Committee is now confident that the Provisional Application Phase will start in May 2017, as they had already assumed (reported here). This timing is crucial to allow the Sunrise Period for opting patents out of the system to begin in September 2017, providing a 3 month opt-out window before the UPC goes live in December 2017 – a timeline that some consider to be cutting it fine (see here). The Committee has sensibly noted that the timetable may be subject to change and has promised to provide regular updates on progress, which we will report on as they arise.