In November 2016, the then UK minister of state signalled the UK Government’s intention to ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement. The German government has subsequently also indicated that it planned to ratify 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.