Europe’s Unified Patent Court expected to be operational in December

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Europe’s Unified Patent Court, which will cover 25 countries in the region, has announced that it expects to be operational in December.

In an announcement, the Preparatory Committee said that it is now working under the presumption that the Provisional Application Phase will start at the end of spring, presumably in May.

It expects that the agreement establishing the court can enter into force and the court itself will become operational in December. The court has its seat in Paris and major sections in London and Munich.

The Provisional Application Phase also marks the start of operation of the Unified Patent Court’s formal governing bodies, which means that judicial interviews can begin and appointments can start to be confirmed.

The committee also said that the start of the sunrise-period for the possibility to opt out European patents is now planned for early September, providing a minimum of three months for patent holders who wish to opt out their patents to do so before the Court becomes operational.

Nonetheless, it warns that the timetable is dependent on a number of factors.

The necessary ratifications of the UPCA and accession to the Protocol on Provisional Application are most important to the timeline, the committee said.

“If these are not achieved the time-plan will be disrupted,” the committee stressed, adding its final committee meeting is scheduled for early March.

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