The Provisional Application Phase and the UPC’s expected timeline

After the inaugural meetings of the Administrative, Budget and Advisory Committee held at the end of February, the work preparing the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is continuing.

The Advisory Committee has started to interview candidates for the positions as judges of the Court and the interviews are foreseen to be ongoing until May. Thereafter, the Advisory Committee will provide its recommendations to the Administrative Committee, which eventually will appoint the judges of the Court. According to the current planning, the appointment of the judges will take place before the summer break.

After their appointment, the judges will elect the two Presidents of the Court and form a Presidium. Thereafter, the Registrar and the Deputy Registrar will be recruited. Once appointed, the judges will be offered an extensive training program covering e.g., the Case Management System and the secondary legislation of the Court.

In parallel to the recruitment of the judges, work is continuing in other areas. A medical and social security plan is being procured, the IT system, including the Case Management System and the corporate functions are being finalised, and a new website is being developed.

The start of operations will be triggered by the entry into force of the UPC Agreement. The UPC Agreement will enter into force on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the German instrument of ratification. This will happen when the Administrative Committee is confident that the Court is operational. The German deposit will also mark the start of the sunrise period during which it will be possible to opt out existing European patents from the jurisdiction of the Court.

The timing of the start of operations of the Court depends on the progress of the preparatory work. It is a reasonable assessment that this will happen during the last quarter of 2022 or early 2023.