October 1st, 2015 - Signature of a Protocol for provisional application of the UPC
An important Protocol to the UPC Agreement has been signed by the Member states on October 1st, 2015.
According to this Protocol some parts of the UPC Agreement will be applied provisionally before the full entry into force of the Agreement.
During this provisional preparatory phase, it will be possible to organize the various local and regional divisions of the Court of the First Instance as well as the Central division, the Court of Appeal and the Registry.
The various Committees provided in the Agreement (Administrative Committee, Budget Committee and Advisory Committee) will also be set up.
In the same way, Judges will be recruited and the future IT system of the Court will be tested.
The Center for patent mediation and arbitration will be organized.
Finally and most importantly the Rules of Procedures, of which the last draft was published in July 2015, will be adopted by the Administrative Committee.
This provisional application phase will also allow owners of already granted European Patents and pending European patent applications to file at the Registry, Applications for opting-out from the exclusive competence of the Court. Those Applications, when accepted by the Registry, shall be treated as entered on the register on the date of the effective full entry into force of the Agreement.
This Protocol organizing a provisional preparatory phase must however be accepted and ratified by at least thirteen signatory States of the Agreement including Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The signatory States of the Protocol must have either ratified or indicated that they have received parliamentary approval to ratify the UPC Agreement. The Member States may also declare that they consider themselves bound by the provisional application of certain parts of the UPC Agreement according to said Protocol.
It is expected that this provisional phase could begin in June 2016, thus allowing a final entry into force of the entire UPC Agreement in the beginning of 2017.