Preparations for a Unified Patent Court (UPC) in the European Union have moved ahead on two fronts within the past month.
The 25 participating states agreed upon signing the UPC Agreement to establish a Preparatory Committee. That committee has now been organized and it held its first meeting on March 26 in Brussels. Paul van Beukering (Netherlands) was elected Chair and Alexander Ramsay (Sweden) was elected Vice-chair, reflecting the leadership their countries have taken in proposing organizational rules for the committee. Coordinators were appointed for each of the following areas of work: legal framework, financial aspects, IT, facilities, and human resources and training. Priority has been given to a broad consultation on the Rules of Procedure, which are expected to be published for comment following the committee’s next meeting, expected to take place by early June. The committee agreed that early 2015 would constitute a realistic target date for entry into operation of the UPC. Read the preparatory committee's initial report and the report's attachment for more information.
On April 16, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) dismissed the cases filed by Spain and Italy, which objected to the UPC Agreement on several grounds. All of those objections were firmly rejected in the court’s judgment and are summarized in the CJEU's press release.
In March, Spain brought two further cases (C-146/13 and C-147/13) before the CJEU, challenging the EU regulations establishing the Unitary Patent system and its translation regime. The details of those cases have not yet been released. Such challenges were inevitable at some stage and are probably better dealt with now. It appears that the participating states will simply ignore this development and proceed with their preparations for opening the UPC and implementing the Unitary Patent in early 2015.