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The 2017 UPC Christmas present

The preparatory committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has today, January 16, announced that the UPC may become operational in December 2017.

The committee also announced that they expect the provisional application phase to start at the end of spring 2017, presumably in May.

Last year the UPC had postponed the recruitment of UPC judges in light of Brexit, but it is confirmed that judicial interviews can begin. The UK has currently not ratified, but according to law firm Bristows, the UK’s ratification is “expected in April”.

At the moment 11 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden have ratified.

In addition, the preparatory committee stated with some reservations, that “sunrise period” to opt European patents out of the UPC has now been planned for early September 2017.
The sunrise period provides patent owners with a minimum of three months to opt out any patents from the jurisdiction of the court before it becomes operational.