Yesterday (10 September 2020) the UPC Preparatory Committee met (albeit virtually) for the first time since March 2017. On the agenda were the issues triggered by the formal withdrawal of the UK from the UPC system and the events in Germany in relation to challenges to Germany’s participation.

The note of the meeting on the Committee’s website (here) states that the Committee took note of the “good progress” being made in Germany with regard to the legislation needed for the German ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement and the Protocol on Provisional Application.

The Committee also took note of the call from European Industry for a swift entry into operation of the Unitary Patent System.

“Against this backdrop issues concerning the effects of the UK withdrawal were discussed as well as appropriate ways forward. Good progress was made and the Committee is confident that pragmatic and legally sound solutions will be found that will enable the unitary patent system to be functional in a near future“.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the replacement of London as the life sciences seat of the central division was considered at yesterday’s meeting and a recommendation adopted that Munich and Paris divide the workload that would have gone to London as a temporary arrangement, so that the determination of this seat’s final location would not delay the start of the UPC system. The report also states that the procedure to amend the agreement to change the location of the London seat can now be commenced.

Once Germany has ratified the UPC Agreement, the hope is that the UPC could be formally established (and the unitary patent system also come into effect) in 2021. The start of the UPC would allow the EPO to start to grant unitary patents (European patents with unitary effect) which can only be enforced via the UPC.

Italy has formally submitted its proposal for Milan to host the life sciences seat of the central division court of the UPC on a permanent basis. The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs (Di Maio) was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and Italy’s proposal was well received.

See also this post by Sebastian Moore, one of our European patent specialists, with more information and comment about the benefits of Milan hosting the life sciences seat of the UPC central division.