The UK Prime Minister announced this week that Article 50 would be triggered on 29 March 2017.
It had been previously reported that the UK might try and conclude its ratification procedure for the Unified Patent Court Agreement prior to the Article 50 notification but the ratification procedure has slipped sufficiently that this will not now be possible.
IPcopy understands from the UKIPO that there is currently no confirmed date for laying the Statutory Instruments (on Privileges and Immunities) before Parliament that are required to complete the UK’s ratification formalities. It is expected that this will now occur after the Easter recess towards the end of April. Further details on the UK’s path to ratifying the UPC Agreement can be found here.
In other news, the UPC Preparatory Committee met for the final time on 15 March 2017 before the provisional application phase is expected to begin at the end of May 2017. The start of the sunrise period, during which opt-outs may be registered, is still expected to run from September 2017. However, the sunrise period may not now run all the way up to the expected opening date of the Court on 1 December 2017. IPcopy notes that the sunrise period may instead close a couple of weeks earlier to avoid a last minute rush.
An update to the Rules of Procedure which will include a few minor amendments will appear on the Preparatory Committee website shortly.
Over in Germany, the German parliament has recently passed two pieces of draft legislation that will be needed for Germany to ratify the UPC Agreement. There are a few further steps required before Germany has ratified but it is understood the country is on course to complete its substantive ratification actions by some point during Spring 2017.
Interestingly, the recently approved draft legislation would seem to allow double patenting in Germany (between a European patent with unitary effect or an EP(DE) that has not been opted-out and a German national patent). There are safeguards however against double enforcement in certain circumstances. More details can be found here. IPcopy notes that the UK has not gone down the same route.
Mark Richardson 23 March 2017