The Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court has published a September 2014 update on the progress of its work towards the opening of the court. The key milestones in the update are:
- The Committee will continue to work on the basis that "the Court will not be ready before the end of 2015", although it acknowledges that this is "ambitious";
- Following a hearing of user organisations in November 2014 and then further review, the Committee expects there to be agreement on the Rules of Procedure in May 2015;
- A draft schedule of court fees – fixed fee, and calculation method for value based fees in matters above the defined ceiling of the fixed fee – is being considered by the Finance Group. A second draft is expected to be discussed at the beginning of 2015;
- A revised draft of the rules on the litigation certificate for patent attorneys is expected in early 2015;
- The procurement process for the electronic filing and case management system of the UPC is expected to take place in autumn 2014. Development and testing of this system is expected to be finalised by the last quarter of 2015;
- Work on the number and qualifications of local staff is due to be finalised in March 2015;
- A provisional list of legally and technically qualified judges has been approved by the Preparatory Committee. The first training programmes for those judges deemed to require training will begin in December 2014. The Committee aims to appoint a sufficient number of part-time and full-time judges before the entry into operation of the UPC and to create a reserve list of judges who could be appointed should the case law increase more than expected.