When will the new system become operational?
The Unified Patent Court is expected to start its work early 2023.
With the deposit of the instrument of ratification by Austria as the thirteenth member state, the UPC entered into force provisionally on January 18, 2022, in accordance with the “Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on Provisional Application” (PPA). Under this provisional applicability of parts of the UPC, preparations are presently made for the operation of the UPC. In particular, the UPC Administrative Committee has already officially confirmed the locations of the Court of First Instance and adopted the Court’s Rules of Procedure as well as the Table of Fees, which have entered into force on September 1, 2022. The selection of the judges and the finalization of the IT infrastructure take place in the framework of the PPA, too.
For the full entry into force of the UPC, the deposit of the (already signed) instrument of ratification by Germany is still missing. Acting as a “gatekeeper”, Germany is to deposit its instrument when the Unified Patent Court declares that the necessary preparations have been completed. Currently, Germany is expected to deposit its instrument late 2022.
As soon as Germany has deposited the instrument of ratification, the UPC will enter into force on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit (Art. 89 UPCA), with this 3-4 month intermediate phase being generally referred to as the “sunrise period”.
Thus, according to current estimates, the UPC is expected to enter into force in spring 2023.
Within the “sunrise period”, an “Opt-Out” can already be declared ahead of time in order to keep patents out of the UPC system and to prevent a centralized attack on the patent directly after the UPC enters into force.