When you’re investing in strategic research and development, you need to know that you can turn that investment into business value. That’s where patents come in. A patent or even just a patent application provides the legal deterrent to competitors who would rather copy unprotected technology and provides reassurance to investors who want to see something more tangible than just great.

Predicting The Future
Transitional Ends

End of transitional period (unless extended)

Q1/2 2017
UPC Begins

UPC comes into existence (first day of the fourth month of the 13th ratification – which must include France, Germany and UK)

Q4 2016 / Q1 2017
Opt Outs

Sunrise period for opt outs

Q4 2016
Germany & UK Ratifcation

Germany & UK ratify and deposit their instrument

Q3 2016
Further Ratification

Further countries ratify and deposit instruments

May 2016
Judge Recruitment

Recruitment of judges commences

May 2016
Bulgaria Ratification

Bulgaria ratifies and deposits its instrument of ratification
(Country 10)

March 2016
UK Parliament

The UK Parliament has approved the legislation (The Patents (European Patent with Unitary Effect and Unified Patent Court) Order 2016) which will give effect to European Union legislation in relation to the European patent with unitary effect and to the international agreement on the Unified Patent Court in the UK. 

February 2016
The Preparatory Committee

The Preparatory Committee for the UPC agrees the Rules on Court fees and recoverable costs for the UPC. The biggest change, and welcome news for proprietors of existing EP patents and applications is that no fee will be payable in order to opt out of the jurisdiction of the UPC. Many have lobbied that this should have always been the case, and will welcome this news - final agreed version of the UPC fees here.

November 2015
UPC Rules Of Procedure

UPC Rules Of Procedure Finalised by the UPC Signatory States, subject to any future amendments on the court fees. The tables at pages 141 and 142 give an overview of stages of Infringement and Revocation proceedings. The full Rules of Procedure can be found here.

October 2015

Protocol to the UPC Agreement

September 2015
June 2015

EU countries agreed on the level of renewal fees of the unitary patent. The renewal fees will be equal to the sum of national renewal fees in four countries (Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands). According to the EC, this means that an inventor protecting their innovation with the unitary patent will pay less than €5,000 in renewal fees over 10 years for a territory that covers 26 EU countries, instead of the current level of around €30,000, which has proven to discourage companies from patenting in Europe.

May 2015

The ECJ delivers two judgments which both dismissed Spain’s actions trying to annul the regulations forming part of the unitary patent – The Agreement on the UPC is set to go ahead.

April 2014
French Deposition

France deposis its instrument of ratification on the UPC; notable because France is one of the countries (together with Germany and the UK) which must ratify in order for the Agreement to come into force

December 2012
Signing the Agreement

Following the adoption of the two Regulations in the contracting countries, except for oland but with the addition of Italy, proceeded with the signature of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The process for the ratification of the agreement is ongoing. The package will come into effect when 13 countries have ratified the Unified Patent Court agreement. Unitary patent ratification by EU country

February 2012
Patent Package

February 2012, EU countries and the European Parliament agreed on the ‘patent package’ – a legislative initiative consisting of two regulations and an international agreement that lay the ground for the creation of unitary patent protection in the EU.

The package consists of:

  • a Regulation creating a European patent with unitary effect ('unitary patent')
  • a Regulation establishing a language regime applicable to the unitary patent
  • an Agreement between EU countries to set up a single and specialised patent jurisdiction (the 'Unified Patent Court')