News from the Final Preparatory Committee of the UPC

On March 15, 2017, the Final Preparatory Committee of the UPC met in the Hague.  Mr. Brunner who attended the meeting as a Representative of the French Ministry of Justice made a few comments in a conference organized on the next day by the Association of French Patent Attorneys (CNCPI).

Mr. Brunner declared that there is still a strong political drive within the Committee and more generally within the IP Community in Europe to start the UPC with the participation of the UK, in spite of the BREXIT vote. Nevertheless, contrary to what was thought before, it appears that the ratification of the UK should take place after the UK decides to trigger Article 50 TUE. A potential ratification period should be mid- to end April 2017.

If the UK ratification is effective at the end of April, and providing a few more states ratify the adequate Protocol, the UPC should then start its Provisional Application Phase at the end of May 2017. This will involve futher steps in particular the hiring and training of judges, as well as the set-up and testing of the IT system.

Mr. Brunner also confirmed that it is expected that Germany will only deposit its ratification instruments after the UK ratification is effective, probably in August 2017.

This would allow the sunrise period to start in September 2017, with a possibility to opt out from the system before the effective start of operation of the Court in December 2017 or January 2018.

Mr. Brunner also mentioned that this potential schedule should be considered cautiously, as it may be affected by the political situation, in particular in the UK.

Moreover, Mr. Brunner indicated that there is no official plan yet regarding the fate of the UPC after the UK effectively leaves the EU, the present objective being to start the Court while the UK is still a member of the EU. The adaptations of the legal framework of the UP and UPC will be part of the BREXIT negotiations.

Finally, Mr. Brunner confirmed that premises are ready and almost operational in Paris for locating the Central Division and the Local Division of the UPC. Although he was not authorized to disclose the exact location pending an official announcement, it appears the location could be close to the present Court of Justice of Paris (even if it is subject to be relocated soon) in downtown Paris, across the Seine river just opposite the current location of the Court of Justice.

LAVOIX will of course keep you informed promptly of any development regarding the ratification process and the set-up of the Court.

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