Progress continues at pace towards the new Unified Patent Court (“UPC“) in Europe, with news that the National Council of the Austrian Parliament (Nationalrat) has unanimously approved the Protocol on Provisional Application (“PPA“). The next step is for the PPA to be approved by the Austrian Bundesrat (Federal Council), and this is likely to happen before the end of this year.

Therefore Austria is likely to be the thirteenth participating Member State of the UPC to approve the PPA, which is all that is required for the PPA to enter into force. The Chairman of the Preparatory Committee has already been given a mandate to organise a signing ceremony of the Declaration relating to the start of the Provisional Application Period, so it looks unlikely that there will be much further delay in the process.

Once the Provisional Application period starts, it is expected to run for around 8 months in order to allow the preparations for the start of the UPC to be completed. Therefore the UPC may start operating in late summer or early autumn of 2022 (though it could be earlier if it turns out that the necessary preparations take less time than the UPC Preparatory Committee envisages).