Protocol on the UPC

United Kingdom

This article was produced by Olswang LLP, which joined with CMS on 1 May 2017.

Representatives of member states have signed a protocol agreeing that certain aspects of the UPC can enter force early.  This will allow IT systems, training of judges, and the registration of opt-outs to be implemented before the Court comes into full operation.

Perhaps the most notable part of this development is that while announcing the protocol, the preparatory committee noted that they expect to complete their work by June 2016 with a view to the Court opening in early 2017.  Previously, a 2016 opening had been mooted.

This announcement does not have any immediate impact, but starts to firm up the date when Patentees will be able to make active preparations for the Court in the form of registering opt-outs.  This is a key decision for Patentees and will impact the status of patent portfolios in Europe.  Patentees should be starting to think about whether they will opt-out their European patents sooner rather than later.