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UP & UPC: Rules of Procedure, implementation roadmap & new website launch

On 06 October 2022, the Unified Patent Court preparatory team shared a UPC implementation roadmap (shown below). According to this roadmap, the start of the sunrise period is currently planned for 01 January 2023, and the start of UPC is planned for 01 April 2023.

The preparatory team also published a notice on 13 October 2022 announcing the planned launch of its remodeled website on 07 November 2022. The revised website promises information about the court locations, Registry and Sub-Registries contact information, legal documents of the court, committees representatives, any official communication of the court, current and upcoming vacancies at the court, and information on the court’s judges. The website link to the new site will remain the same as the current site: www.unified-patent-court.org.

UP Croadmap06102022

Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court - in force 01 September 2022

Good things take time. The Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), supplementing the UPC Agreement (UPCA) and the Statute of the UPC, were adopted by the UPC’s Administrative Committee in a meeting on 08 July 2022 with changes to Rules 4, 5, 5A, 262 and 262A.

As will be recalled, Rule 5 relates to lodging of an application to opt-out “classic” European patent applications, European patents and related supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) but not unitary patents (UPs) from the exclusive competence of the new UPC according to Article 83(3) UPCA before an action against any of them can be brought before the UPC as well as subsequent withdrawal of an opt-out. Rule 5A relates to an application to remove an unauthorised application to opt out or unauthorised withdrawal of an opt-out.

Rules of Procedure of the UPC

The consolidated versions of the Rules of Procedure of the UPC in English, French and German have been made available on the UPC’s website: dycip.com/upc-rules-procedure.

Having entered into force on 01 September 2022, before entry into force of the UPCA itself, the Rules of Procedure of the UPC can be applied during the “sunrise period” during which “classic” European patent applications, European patents and related SPCs may be safely opted-out before the UPC opens its doors, which can, according to the roadmap, be expected to happen on 01 April 2023.

However, applicants, proprietors and holders of European patent applications, European patents and SPCs, respectively, being still sceptical of the new court, are reminded of a unique feature of the UPC: technically qualified judges appointed on basis of their specific qualifications and experience, ensuring that all fields of technology are covered. This is a first, and expected to make the court agile.

Speaking of the human factor: all judges (all legally qualified judges and technically qualified judges) will be nationals of a contracting member state of the UPC, ensure the highest standards of competence, and have proven experience in the field of patent litigation and good command of at least one of English, French and German, the official languages of the European Patent Office (EPO).

With the “go” for the Unified Patent Court apparently only a few months away, it’s time to “get set”, now.

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