UPC ratification and Article 50 - what next?
Will the ratification of the UPCA by the UK be affected by triggering Article 50? Apparently not.
The latest news we have below from UKIPO UPC Taskforce was received on 31st March, after Article 50 was triggered. They report to be “fully on track” for the court to be operational in December 2017. There has been lots of discussion around the role of the CJEU for referrals from the UPC, but there is an argument that the UPC will be an international Court, albeit located partially in UK territory – so this doesn’t seem to be a reason to delay UK ratification.
German ratification is also advanced, with the final law approved, so formalities/signatures for ratification are all that remains.
Technically, either Germany or the UK will need to “hold off” formal ratification until the end of July, as the system will enter into force on the first day of the fourth month after Germany or the UK deposit their instrument of ratification or accession (as 12 other states have already ratified, and 13 signatures are needed, which must include UK, France and Germany).
Please see below the latest news update on UPC implementation.
Interim Team Meeting
The Interim Team of the Preparatory Committee met on Wednesday 29th March, at the UPC Court of Appeal building in Luxembourg. The team has 5 sub-groups each tasked with making final practical arrangements for the court to come into operation. A new group has been formed within the Interim Team to ensure the court will have appropriate corporate functions, such as HR and IT departments, when it opens. All sub-groups are making good progress. Some noticeable highlights include:
- The HR team reported readiness to proceed with the judicial recruitment process once provisional application has started.
- The Finance team held fruitful discussions with the HR team which will help them to refine the provisional budget for the Court. Work is also underway on preparing the budget for next year.
- The Registry and IT teams also held useful joint discussions to ensure the Case Management System (CMS) and Registry procedures are fully compatible. User Acceptance Testing of the CMS is expect to start soon.
The next meeting of the Interim Team will be in Berlin on 25th April. Between now and then work will continue on all work streams.
There has been some speculation this week about the UK’s timetable for ratification of the Agreement. As reported in Managing IP on 30th March, "we are fully on track to commence the provisional application period and ratify the UP Agreement according to the Preparatory Committee’s timetable (i.e. provisional application in May and court operational in December 2017). We expect the legislation on privileges and immunities to be ready to lay after Easter. I will keep you posted on further developments as they occur. In the meantime, if you have any questions please do get in touch". (From the UKIPO Unified Patent Court Taskforce).