2017 - year of the UPC after all?
Following the Referendum last June, in late November 2016 the UK government surprised many observers by indicating that it still intends to ratify the UPC Agreement.
Ratification by the UK would, assuming Germany also ratifies, allow the system to start in the near future, with the UK participating, nothwithstanding the fact that the UK's position in the UPC after it leaves the EU is currently unclear.
The UK's plan to ratify has accordingly revived preparations for the UPC and UP, and the UPC Preparatory Committee has recently announced important conditional dates for the unitary patent (UP) and Unified Patent Court (UPC) roll out in 2017.
Conditional 2017 dates for the UP & UPC
- March 2017: final Preparatory Committee meeting
- May 2017: provisional application phase (PAP) starts
- September 2017: sunrise-period starts, allowing opt outs to be filed
- December 2017: UP and UPC commence
The above dates are based on the assumption that both the UK and Germany will have ratified – or be in a position to do so – by the end of April 2017.
While the hope is that this will happen, there is no guarantee that all the necessary legislative steps will be taken by then, and they may meet a few obstacles. For now, our view is that clients should be reviving their preparations for the UP and UPC as soon as possible.
D Young & Co LLP unitary patent & Unified Patent Court representation
Our ability to obtain UP protection is entirely unaffected by Brexit as the choice of a UP is made through a conventional European patent application, a process which is not related to the EU.
In addition, suitably qualified UK solicitors and European patent attorneys will be able to represent clients before the UPC, regardless of the UK leaving the EU.
We look forward to having the opportunity to represent our clients before the UPC in the full range of cases that will be adjudicated there.
Please contact us with your UP and UPC questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.