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Unified Patent Court (UPC) one step closer to realization

The plans for the opening of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are moving ahead. Last week, seven EU member states signed a protocol which clears the way for the UPC to start its work in late 2016 or early 2017. The protocol comprises legal and practical arrangements and will, among other things, permit hiring of judges and staff well in advance. This ensures that the Court is ready to hear cases on the very day it opens.

The protocol also gives owners of conventional European Patents the opportunity to file requests to opt-out of the UPC before the court opens.

Several other member states are expected to sign the protocol soon. The new European patent system will enter into force after five more EU member states (including Germany and the United Kingdom) have ratified the proposal.