Following the ratification of the Unified Patent Court agreement by the former UK minister of state for IP in November 2016, and with the subsequent indication by Germany that it would be ratifying the agreement shortly, the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court has now announced that it anticipates that the Agreement will come into force and the Court be operational by December of this year (2017). The Preparatory Committee has accepted that there are still a number of factors that could dictate whether this timetable is in fact achievable.

We have explained in previous bulletins how a “sunrise” period is provided, which will commence six months before the coming into force of the Agreement. This sunrise period will allow for the opting out of existing European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC. It will also provide a legal framework through which Court personnel can be interviewed and retained prior to the commencement proper of the UPC.