Before the UK referendum (Brexit) in June last year, it seemed we would finally have a Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system in place in Europe after decades of preparations. As we all know, the UK referendum, at least temporarily, put a stop to that. Since the referendum, there has been an uncertainty as to whether the UK would still ratify the UPC agreement (UPCA), but this uncertainty was significantly reduced when the UK at the Competitiveness Council meeting in November 2016 confirmed that they are proceeding with preparations to ratify the UPCA.
In March, 2017, the UPC preparatory committee was still confident that the provisional application would start at the end of May 2017, scheduling for a planned entry into force of the UPC in December 2017. The so-called sunrise period would then start in September 2017, allowing for proprietors and applicants to perform an early-opt out of their European patents/patent applications. Now, due to the announced general elections in the UK on June 8, 2017, and a closing down of the UK parliament on April 27, 2017 in light of the upcoming elections, it is evident that there will be further delays until an entry into force will be possible. How much more delay there will be is not yet clear, we will just have to wait and see. We are also still awaiting Germany’s final preparations for ratification, but it is expected that these will not happen until the UK has done their part.
At Brann, we are preparing for the entry into force of the new patent and court system in Europe and we are closely following the developments.