The new Europe’s Unified Patent Court, partly based in London, is expected to open in December this year.
The UPC Preparatory Committee has said that it is working ‘under the assumption’ that the court will become operational before the end of year – with a targeted opening date of 1 December, reports the law society Gazette. Despite uncertainty about its position regarding the UPC in the wake of the vote to leave the EU, the UK signalled its intention to ratify the agreement in November. It is important to note that the
UPC itself is not an EU institution, it is an international patent court. The judiciary appointed include UK judges.
There will be branches of the court across the EU with major divisions in Paris, Germany and the UK. The UK will host its branch in Aldgate Tower, on the edge of the City. The court will host the ‘human necessities’ division, which will include disputes related to pharmaceuticals and medical devices, but the UK will also be responsible for managing the IT of the entire UPC system, reports the Gazette.
The courts will have to abide by EU law and will be answerable to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The committee also said today that after the UK ratifies the agreement, expected in the spring, then a ‘provisional application phase’ will begin in May. This will allow various parts of the UPC agreement to come into force early and for the recruitment of judges.
Before the system can come into force 13 countries will have to ratify the agreement. Of those 13, France, Germany and the UK are mandatory. France has also ratified the agreement and Germany is expected to ratify it shortly after the UK.