Today, October 1st 2015, a protocol to the UPC Agreement has been signed by representatives of member states in the margins on the Competitiveness Council meeting. This protocol will allow some parts of the UPC Agreement to be applied early. This includes final decisions on the practical set up of the Court, for example, the recruitment of judges and testing of IT systems. The provisional application phase will also be used to allow for early registration of opt-out demands.
This is the latest step towards bringing the Unified Patent Court into operation. In practice there is no immediate impact on business, however, the Preparatory Committee aims to complete its work by June 2016 with a view to the UPC opening at the start of 2017.
A copy of the protocol is available.