There have been several developments towards the implementation of the European Unitary Patent Package.
First, France became the second county to ratify the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. 11 more countries (including Germany and the UK) are required to ratify the Agreement before it comes into force, and other countries have made progress towards ratification. The UK parliament has passed the UK Intellectual Property Bill giving power to the Secretary of State to ratify the Agreement. The German Federal Minister for Justice has announced here (in German) that draft law to ratify the Agreement will be proposed “after the summer”. Meanwhile, it has been reported that Belgium has voted in favour of the ratification and looks to be the third country to ratify the Agreement. There is a final vote in Belgium on 22 April 2014, which is reported to be “no more than a formality”.
Despite the progress, the Preparatory Committee has revised its roadmap for implementation of the court to "the end of 2015 at the earliest". This announcement is not a surprise because the task of establishing the court infrastructure is so large. Many believe that mid- to late 2016 is a realistic time for the court to open its doors.
Finally, the Select Committee of the EPO met recently and discussed the Draft Rules relating to the European Unitary Patent (EUP). Importantly, it was apparently agreed that the level of renewal fees for the Unitary Patent will be discussed by the Select Committee at their next meeting on 26 and 27 May 2014.