The Preparatory Committee is now working under the assumption that the Provisional Application Phase (PAP) will start end of spring 2017, presumably in May, and that the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPCA) can enter into force and the Court become operational in December 2017. The PAP will mean that the organization as such will be established including the start of operation of the UPC's formal governing bodies. It will also mean that judicial interviews can begin and appointments eventually confirmed. The start of the sunrise-period for the possibility to opt out European patents is now planned for early September 2017 which will provide a minimum of 3 months for patent holders who wish to opt out their patents to do so before the Court becomes operational.
The above timetable is conditional and provided with the clear disclaimer that there are a number of factors that will dictate whether it is achievable. The most important factors in meeting these dates is the necessary ratifications of the UPCA and accession to the Protocol on Provisional Application. If these are not achieved the time-plan will be disrupted.
There will be a final Preparatory Committee meeting in early March 2017, and in due course, updates and more specific details of the Committee’s work programme will be published on this website. Those who have applied for judicial appointments will be contacted separately.