The Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) published a revised roadmap on 16 September 2014. This provides an update on progress made in preparation for the commencement of the UPC generally, and reflects the already stated position of the Preparatory Committee that the court will not be ready before the end of 2015. It is worth noting that the Preparatory Committee itself recognises that the revised timetable remains ambitious, and that it views the objective of ensuring the quality and efficiency of the new court as far more important than simply getting it ready quickly.
Key projected UPC dates
Readers might wish to make note of a number of key projected dates, for their diaries as follows:
Public hearing on the Rules of Procedure
- End November 2014
Training of UPC judges commences
- December 2014
Further draft on the rules on the litigation certificate for patent attorneys
- Early 2015
Consultation on court fees
- Spring 2015
Candidates for mediators and arbitrators
In addition, the Preparatory Committee has stated that it will be sending out a request for expressions of interest for possible candidates for mediators and arbitrators, to work in the UPC Mediation and Arbitration Centre which is to be established in Lisbon and Ljubljana. The roadmap indicates that this was supposed to have been sent in Q2 2014 but as yet we are not aware that it has been.
Unitary Patent Court start date
Given the indication on timings, and our understanding that certain key member states will not complete the ratification process until the court is ready, even on the ambitious timetable set out in this latest roadmap, the UPC will not be up and running before April 2016 (which allows for the three month period post the final required ratification to have passed, as provided for in Article 89 of the UPC Agreement). In reality, we suspect the court is unlikely to be operational before 2017 although we will keep this under careful review.
UPC roadmap, revised September 2014
A link to the new roadmap is here: http://www.unified-patent-court.org/images/documents/roadmap-201409.pdf