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UP & UPC Chronology

The following reverse-order chronology lists significant steps toward the implementation of the EU Unitary Patent (UP) and Unified Patent Court (UPC), starting at the bottom with the adoption of the UP regulations and the signing of the UPC Agreement.

 

14 September 2016 Netherlands became the 11th state to deposit its ratification of the UPC Agreement. The lower house of the Italian parliament approved draft legislation to enable ratification of the UPC Agreement.
12 September 2016 Two UK barristers delivered their Opinion, commissioned by three UK IP groups, saying that the UK is not barred from participating in the UP and UPC arrangements after Brexit. See our Alert.
1 July 2016 The Chairmen of the UPC Preparatory Committee and EPO UP Select Committee noted the UK Brexit vote and said that the work dedicated to the technical implementation of the UP and UPC should continue to progress as envisaged. See here.
30 June 2016 The UPC Preparatory Committee met. It endorsed papers concerning the internal operations of the court and a draft budget, and agreed on amendments to the Rules of Procedure as a consequence of the previous agreement on the court fees and on the Code of Conduct for representatives appearing before the Court. See here.
 29 June 2016  The UPC Protocol on Privileges and Immunities was opened for signature and signed by representatives of 12 member states, including France & Germany. See here and here. UK IP Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, said that a final decision by the UK on ratifying the UPC Agreement must await choice of a new Prime Minister.
 28 June 2016  A note was added to the UPC webpages saying, “There has been no change to the UPC recruitment process or its deadline of 4 July.”
24 June 2016 Reacting to the UK Brexit vote, EPO President Battistelli said, “Concerning the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, the Office expects that the UK and the participating Member States will find a solution as soon as possible which will allow a full implementation of these so-long awaited achievements.” See here.
23 June 2016 In a nonbinding Referendum on this date, 51.9% of voters in the UK favored leaving the EU (“Brexit”). See our Alert here and our more detailed discussion here.
3 June 2016 Bulgaria became the tenth state to deposit its ratification of the UPCA. Ratification by Germany, the UK and one other state are now necessary for the UPC Agreement to take effect.
26 May 2016 The UPC Preparatory Committee met. The principal subjects of discussions were finances and human resources issues. See here.
Early May 2016 Judicial recruitment process began, continuing through 4 July. See here.
14 April 2016 The UPC Preparatory Committee met and approved a judicial recruitment package, and discussed a draft Code of Conduct for practitioners and the UPC arbitration program.
March 1-2, 2016 The UK Parliament approved the draft Statutory Instrument that will implement the UP and UPC in UK law, clearing the way for UK ratification of the UPCA.
24-25 February 2016 The UPC Preparatory Committee met and approved Rules on Court Fees and Recoverable Costs  and related Guidelines.  There will be no fee to opt-out of the UPC. The meeting Report also disclosed adoption of Rules Governing the Registry of the UPC, Rules of Procedures of the Advisory Committee and the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, and agreement on the level of judicial salaries, but recruitment of judges was postponed.
18 February 2016 The German Justice Ministry published first drafts (in German) of legislation to adapt German law to the UP regulations and to the UPCA, which would permit ratification of the UPCA by Germany.
18 February 2016 The EU Council Presidency published a 13 page report by the Chairs of the UP Select Committee and the UPC Preparatory Committee summarizing the latest state of play in the implementation of the EU Patent package.
15 February 2016 The UPC Preparatory Committee has published draft Mediation Rules, which apparently are final except for “legal scrubbing and some further work … to align them with other rules.”
4 February 2016 The UPC Preparatory Committee launched a “Locations” page. So far, it includes the addresses and photos of locations that have been announced for the Court of Appeal in Luxembourg, •central and local divisions in Germany and the Nordic-Baltic regional division based in Stockholm.
25 January 2016 The UK government published a draft Statutory Instrument that would amend the UK Patents Act to permit UK ratification of the UPCA, and to enable the UP and UPC in the UK. Completion of the legislation is expected in Spring 2016.
19 January 2016 Finland became the ninth state to deposit its ratification of the UPCA.
15 January 2016 The results of the UK consultation on legislation to implement the UPC were announced. Draft legislation has been published.
15 December 2015 The UP Select Committee of the EPO met on 15 December 2015 and completed the final steps necessary to implement the UP, including adoption of (1) Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection, (2) Rules relating to Fees for Unitary Patent Protection, (3) Rules relating to the distribution of fees amongst the participating Member States and (4) Budgetary and Financial Rules. At least the first two of these rules packages were expected to be published soon.
7-8 December 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee met. Most significantly, they discussed the design of the judicial recruitment procedure, which appears likely to be adopted at the next meeting, in February 2016.
17 November 2015 The UP Select Committee of the EPO met and agreed on the formula for distribution of the member states’ 50% share of UP renewal fees. The agreement was to be formalized at the committee’s December meeting.
27 October 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee adopted the final Rules of Procedure, which is complete except for court fees. It turns out to be the 18th draft (see 10 July 2015), apparently unamended except for the date. The Rules are subject to future amendments setting the court fees and final approval by the UPC itself, when it is established.
19 October 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee agreed on the text of Rules of Procedure, to be released shortly.
The Committee had further discussions on the Protocol on Privilege & Immunities, and the Rules on Mediation and Arbitration.
The project plan, to allow the court to be operational at the start of 2017, is expected to be posted in the next few weeks.
13 October 2015 The EPO’s UP Select Committee met. The principal discussion, in closed session, without observers, was about UP renewal fees and distribution of the member states shares. It was rumored that the renewal fees will be at the “True TOP4” level, as previously projected, without any change as a result of Italy joining the UP scheme.
1 October 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee announced signing of the Protocol allowing some parts of the UPC Agreement to be applied early, including the recruitment of judges, testing of IT systems and early registration of opt-out demands.The announcement also indicated that the target date for UPC opening is “at the start of 2017.”
30 September 2015 The EU Commission announced that Italy has joined the Unitary Patent scheme.
9 September 2015 Draft Rules on the European Patent Litigation Certificate were published with an explanatory memorandum.
3 September 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee met and concluded discussion of a proposed Protocol on Provisional Application [of parts of the UPC Agreement], to permit preparatory activities before the court opens to accept cases. (Not yet published). The Committee also agreed on Draft Rules on the European Patent Litigation Certificate.
28 August 2015 Portugal deposited its ratification of the UPC Agreement, the 8th state to do so.
11 August 2015 The UK IP Office announced signed of a lease for the London section of the UPC Central Division and a UK Local Division. The UPC will be located in Aldgate Tower, a new building about two miles East of legal district around the Royal Courts of Justice.
August 2015 Rumors have begun circulating that Spain may join the UP and UPC.
10 July 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee considered the 18th draft of the Rules of Procedure and concluded that agreement on a final set of Rules would be likely at its meeting in October. The Committee discussed a Protocol on Provisional Application of parts of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court that would permit organizational activities in advance of the Court’s opening. Also considered were the judges’ salary package, the privileges and immunities of the UPC, the division of costs and responsibilities of the UPC and the hosting Member States, and reports on IT contracts. (See here).
7 July 2015 Italy sent a letter on this date to the EU Council, formally requesting participation in the Unitary Patent scheme.
23-24 June 2015 The UP Select Committee tentatively adopted a “True TOP4” renewal fee schedule, with fee levels corresponding to the fees which paid for the four participating member states in which European patents are currently most often validated. A final decision is expected in autumn 2015. (See our Costs page).
13 June 2014 The Legal Working Group of the UPC Preparatory Committee published its proposals on the draft European Patent Litigation Certificate, which will permit European Patent Attorneys who are not lawyers to appear before the UPC, together with an Explanatory Memorandum. Consultation on this proposal was open until 25 July 2014. (Details are here).
22 May 2015 Luxembourg deposited its ratification of the UPC Agreement, the 8th state to do so.
15 May 2015 The chairman of an Italy Italian Parliamentary committee announced that Italy would reconsider its decision not to participate in the Unitary Patent. (Italy had previously signed only the UPC Agreement).
8 May 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee launched a public consultation on “Rules on Court fees and recoverable costs,” which continued to 31 July 2015. (See here).
7-8 May 2015 The EPO President sent “adjusted proposals” for UP renewal fees to the Select Committee, followed by new comparisons with national renewal costs. See our Costs page.
5 May 2015 The UPC Preparatory Committee met and approved publication of a consultation document seeking users views regarding proposed court fees and ceilings on recoverable costs (including attorneys’ fees), which is available for comment online until July 31, 2015 here. The proposed base court fee would be €11,000 for a UPC infringement litigation, with additional value-based fees for cases which exceed a value of €500,000. The fee for a revocation case would be €20,000. The fee to opt-out of UPC jurisdiction over a conventional EP would be €80. The Committee also discussed how to provisionally launch parts of the UPC Agreement in advance of the court’s opening, to secure a smooth transition into the operational phase. It is close to agreement on draft Rules of the Patent Litigation Certificate. The Committee also noted the successful completion of the first two modules for the training of the judges, which will continue with internships in Europe’s most specialized patent courts.
5 May 2015 The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its Judgments in Case Nos. C-146/13 and C-147/13, rejecting the arguments made by Spain against the UP regulations, and dismissing both cases. The judgments are here: Case C‑146/13 and Case C‑147/13.
1 May 2015 The Dutch government launched a public Internet consultation until 25 May 2015 for the proposed amendments to the Dutch Patent Act to implement the UPC Agreement.
23-24 March 2015 The Select Committee met. Their discussions included the proposals for UP renewal fees. The Committee confirmed its plan to adopt a fee schedule by the end of June 2015 (See our Costs page.).
18 March 2015 The Luxembourg Parliament reportedly approved ratification of the UPC Agreement.
1 January 2015 Norway joined the London Agreement, permitting validation in Norway with an English specification, expanding the alternatives to a Unitary Patent. National applications in English are now also permitted. By either route, only the claims need to be translated into Norwegian at grant.
9 December 2014 The Select Committee approved draft rules relating to unitary patent protection, postponing the draft rule on financial issues for later consideration. The consolidated draft is here.
26 November 2014 A hearing on the 17th Draft of the UPC Rules was held be at the European Law Academy (ERA) in Trier, Germany.
18 November 2014 The CJEU Advocate General issued his advisory opinion, rejecting the arguments against the UP regulations made by Spain in Case Nos. C-146/13 and C-147/13, and recommending that both cases be dismissed.
31 October 2014 The UPC Preparatory Committee issued the 17th Draft of the UPC Rules of Procedure (here), and a table (here) comparing the 16th and 17th drafts, and including the explanatory notes to the changes.
1 July 2014 Oral hearing before the CJEU in Case Nos. C-146/13 and C-147/13, in which Spain is attacking the EU regulations that would create unitary patent protection and the applicable translation arrangements. The Advocate General’s Opinion is expected to give an advisory on Spain’s submissions on 21 October 2014 and the CJEU may render its decision by the end of 2014.
20 June 2014 Following a favorable public referendum, Denmark deposited its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement.
6 June 2014 Belgium deposited its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement. Belgium has said it will establish a local division of the UPC in Brussels, with the Court operating in its three national languages (French, Dutch and German) and English.
5 June 2014 June 2014 Sweden deposited its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement.
26 May 2014 A progress report on implementing the patent package was submitted to the EU Council by the UPC Preparatory Committee and the UP Select Committee of the EPO. A copy is here.
15 May 2014 The EU Council and Parliament approved Regulation No. 542/2014, amending the Brussels I Regulation, No. 1215/2012, to apply that regulation’s rules governing the jurisdiction of courts and recognition of judgments within the EU to the UPC and the Benelux Court of Justice, in substantially the same way as for national courts.
14 March 2014 France, one of the required UPC members, deposited its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement.
6 March 2014 A revised 16th version of the draft UPC Rules of Procedure was published with a comprehensive digest. Oral hearings on the draft rules are planned in the Fall of 2014.
4 March 2014 Estonia, Latvia Lithuania and Sweden agreed to create a Nordic-Baltic regional division of the Unified Patent Court. It will have its seat in Stockholm and will use only English as the language of proceedings.
21 January 2014 The Malta parliament authorized the government to take steps to ratify the UPC Agreement; however, the required specific act had been submitted by the government at the time of this update.
6 Dec. 2013 The EU member states’ justice ministers approved the EU Commission proposal (IP/13/750) to amend the so-called “Brussels I Regulation on jurisdiction of courts and recognition of judgments. As a result, the UPC jurisdiction and judgments will be recognized in EU courts and those of its national states. The European Parliament is expected to agree to the proposal in March 2014 and the regulation, as amended, is expected to be effective 10 January 2015.
15 November 2013 The period for filing expressions of interest in becoming a full-time or part-time, legally or technically qualified judge of the UPC closed today. Over 1,000 persons filed.
1 Oct. 2013 The period for comments on the UPC’s draft regulations closed today. Over 100 submissions were received. We understand that the comments are being considered first by an Advisory Committee chaired by Sir. Robin Jacob. A Preparatory Committee hearing on the rules is expected in early 2014.
14 August 2013 Austria deposited its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement, becoming the first member state to ratify.
1 July 2013 Croatia joins the European Union as the 28th member. Croatia joined the European Union as its 28th full member. It has already been a member of the European Patent Organisation since 1 January 2008. It has not yet signed the UPC Agreement. If Croatia becomes a participant in the Unitary Patent system, that may restrict the availability of a UP for some pending applications, as explained in our updated FAQ.
25 June 2013 The UPC Preparatory Committee published the drafting committee’s 15th draft of proposed regulations (court rules). That draft is here.
22 March 2013 Spain files new Case Nos. C-146/13 and C-147/13 in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) attacking the EU regulation that would create unitary patent protection and the applicable translation arrangements, Regulation Nos. 1257/2012, and EU Regulation No. 1257/2012, respectively. Most details of filings in the CJEU are not public. The publically available information should be posted on the CJEU website on the pages at the case links above.
8 March 2013 Bulgaria signs the UPC Agreement as the 25th signatory state.
19 Feb. 2013 Today, 24 of the 27 EU member states signed the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement that will create and the Unified Patent Court. It will take effect a few months after ratification by France, Germany, the United Kingdom and ten other participating states.
17 Dec. 2012 EU Regulations adopted implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection (1257/2012) and with regard to the applicable translation arrangements (1260/2012). These regulations will take effect when the proposed Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement takes effect.
8 March 2011 Responding to a request from the EU Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave its Opinion in No. 1/09 holding that a draft agreement on the creation of a European and Community Patent Court is not compatible with European Union law, primarily because it would be an include non-EU member states and would be an international court not regulated by the EU.

Updated September 19, 2016.