Monday, 2 June 2014

Expected timeline for unitary patent and unified patent court

I noticed that recently a progress report on the implementing of the unitary patent and unified patent court  has been filed with the Council of the European Union.

The document contains quite a number of expected dates for various milestones. I've created a rudimentary timeline by listing these dates in order. 

Both the EPO and the UPC have set up a committee to prepare these institutes: the Preparatory Committee for the unified patent court and the Select Committee for EPO.  I've also included a few dates from the updated timeline of the Select Committee.  These documents seem to agree well with each other.

This timeline does not include the ratifications of the member states, which are of course a requirement for the system to become operational.

Timeline 2014


'Shortly':   Call for tender for IT system UPC

24 June 2014:  Adoption of Select Committee of the Rules relating to the Unitary Patent Protection 

July 2014: Financial Regulations for Unified patent court adopted

Autumn 2014: public hearing on Rules of Procedure for UPC.

Autumn 2014: training UPC candidate judges begins

October 2014: Presentation and first discussion on a proposal for the renewal fee for the unitary patent, by the Select committee. (It is not clear to me if this proposal will be public).

End of 2014: a consultation on a proposal for the Court fees launched 

Timeline 2015

Early 2015:  Preparatory Committee will revise the roadmap and target date

First semester 2015:  Select Committee completes work

Summer 2015:  procurement process for IT system of UPC completed

End of 2015:   Work for Preparatory Committee possibly completed

Noticeably, absent from these documents is a revised target date for when the unitary patent will be in operation. We can speculate though that that a delivered IT system in summer of 2015 might lead to a start date for the unitary patent in early 2016. Assuming a sunrise period for the opt-out of half a year, this would mean that users of the patent systems could file opt-outs somewhere about half-way 2015.

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