The Protocol on the Provisional Application of the UPCA entered into force on 19 January 2022 and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) was born as an international organisation. At the same time, the final phase of the establishment of the Unified Patent Court, the so-called Provisional Application Period (PAP), started. During this “pilot phase”, which will last at least 8, probably closer to 11 months, certain provisions of the UPC will already be provisionally applicable and the final preparatory work will be carried out to establish the new court and make it operational.
The Administrative Committee of the EPC, which has already been formed on 22 February 2022, plays an essential role in this. Among other things, it will select the judges to be appointed and adopt the future Rules of Procedure of the Court.
As per notice of EPG dated 14 July 2022, the 2nd meeting of this Administrative Committee was held on July 8, 2022, as a result of which further important decisions and steps have been taken, which can be briefly summarized as follows:
- Confirmation of the local and regional divisions ofthe Court of First Instance to be set up:
- Austria (Vienna)
- Belgium (Brussels)
- Denmark (Copenhagen)
- Finland (Helsinki)
- France (Paris)
- Germany (Düsseldorf, Hamburg,
- Italy (Milan)
- the Netherlands (The Hague)
- Slovenia (Ljubljana)
- Portugal (Lisbon)
- Nordic-Baltic region (Stockholm)
- The UPC’s Patent Mediation and Arbitration Centre will be established in Ljubljana and Lisbon.
- The Court’s Rules of Procedure and Table of Fees will enter into force on 1 September 2022 (a consolidated version will be published soon).
- The list of candidates to be appointed judges of the UPC is available and is expected to be adopted before the summer break.
Probably the most important news for all interested parties, however, is that the start of operations of the Unified Patent Court can reasonably be expected in early 2023.
This leads to the assumption – with due caution – that the approx. 3-month transition phase (“sunrise period”) will probably start before the end of 2022. It is therefore time for all patent owners, if they have not already done so, to use the next few months to review their patent portfolios and make a decision on the question “opt-out: yes or no?” (cf. our blog post of 11 February 2022).