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Unitary patent package – Timeline for implementation

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EU flagThe dolly zoom is a camera effect, famously used by Alfred Hitchcock in Vertigo, in which the background in a shot suddenly appears to change size in relation to the foreground subject matter. Those of you following the implementation of the unitary patent system may have noted that despite the main legislative regulations and agreements being in place the actual “go live” date for the system appears to be performing the legal equivalent of a dolly zoom by disappearing into the distance!

Since the original implementation date was April 2014 but is now being reported as late 2015/2016, we thought we’d take a quick look at the timeline as it appears now.

  • 19 February 2013 – the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court was signed by 24 member states
  • 5 March 2013 – Bulgaria become the 25th member state to sign the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court
  • 25 June 2013 – the consultation on the Rules of Procedure of the unified patent court opened for written comments
  • July 2013 – proposed amendments for Brussels I regulation announced
  • 1 October 2013 – the written phase of the consultation on the Rules of Procedure to close
  • Late 2013 onwards – ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement by at least 13 Member States is expected to begin (including UK, Germany and France). France is making efforts to ratify the agreement quickly. The UK will not be in a position to ratify until the Intellectual Property Bill passes into law. Germany has a general election later this year which will probably delay matters for them. [Update: as noted by Hans van de Heuvel in the comments section below (many thanks Hans), confirmation of Austria’s deposit of its instrument of ratification on 6 August can be found here. See also IPcopy post on this subject here]
  • Early 2014 – Preparatory Committee to organise a public hearing in respect of the Rules of Procedure.
  • Summer 2015 – the Intellectual Property Bill is expected to pass into law.
  • Mid 2015 (?) – outcome of latest Spanish challenge to the unitary patent system expected to be announced.
  • Late 2015 onwards – unitary patent system to enter into force
    • The Unitary Patent Regulations enter into force – 1 January 2014 or the date of entry into force of the UPC Agreement, whichever is the later
    • The UPC Agreement enters into force 1 January 2014 or on the first day of the fourth month after the 13th deposit or on the first day of the 4th month after the date of entry into force of the amendments to Regulation (EC) 1215/2012 (Brussels I regulation)

Mark Richardson   8 August 2013

Example of a Dolly Zoom


2 Comments

  1. Gibus says:

    For the completeness of your timeline, wouldn’t it better to divide the last step according to the result of the previous one:

    * Mid 2015 (?) – outcome of latest Spanish challenge to the unitary patent system expected to be announced.

    * Late 2015 onwards – unitary patent system to enter into force

    * OR All back to square one

  2. Hans van de Heuvel says:

    What should be added: 6 August 2013: Austria is the first to deposit its instrument of ratification (see here http://www.consilium.europa.eu/policies/agreements/search-the-agreements-database?command=details&lang=en&aid=2013001&doclang=EN) after parliamentary approval obtained in July.

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