This timeline looks back at events that have led to the UP and UPC, as well as looking forward to the steps that need to be completed to come into force. The most important factors in meeting the 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.

Predicting The Future
December 2017
UPC Begins

UPC comes into existence (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)

September 2017
Opt Outs

Expected sunrise period for opt outs.

2016
November 2016
UK gives green light for UPC Agreement Ratifcation

Following the sudden announcement that the UK is intending to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, the patent landscape in Europe is once again on the brink of the most significant change in a generation.

September 2016
Netherlands Ratification

In spite of post-Brexit uncertainty over the unitary patent and unified patent court, the Netherlands becomes the 11th Member State to ratify the Agreement on the UPC.

June 2016
UK votes to Brexit

The UK’s decision to leave the EU leaves the future of the UP & UPC unclear.

June 2016
UPC Rules Of Procedure

UPC Rules Of Procedure Finalised. 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.

May 2016
Judge Recruitment

Recruitment of judges commences

May 2016
Bulgaria Ratification

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

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
No opt-out fee agreed

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.

2015
October 2015
Protocol

A protocol to the UPC Agreement is signed by representatives of member states. This protocol will allow some parts of the UPC Agreement to be applied early.

September 2015
June 2015
ECJ

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
ECJ

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.

2014
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

2012
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')