Provisional Phase of the UPC can now begin
With the deposit on 18 January 2022 by Austria of its instrument of ratification for the Protocol on Provisional Application Period (PAP- Protocol; see here), the UPC’s Provisional Phase can now begin. The Provisional Phase allows for the finalisation of secondary legislation and Rules of Procedure, the Court filing system and IT infrastructure, financial budgets, and most importantly, the hiring of the UPC’s staff, including the appointment of judges.
The Provisional Phase is expected to last eight to ten months and it is hoped it will conclude in Q3 / Q4 2022. Once the UPC Preparatory Committee are satisfied that the UPC infrastructure is in place, Germany will deposit its ratification of the UPC Agreement thereby starting the 4 month countdown to the official start of the UPC.
Within that countdown, we expect there to be a three-month sunrise period when patentees can file “opt-outs” for existing EPs, as well as indicating that they wish to designate a Unitary Patent for EPs proceeding to grant.
It is important that patentees give sufficient time to adjust their patenting strategies and review their EP portfolios to ensure these are aligned to business needs ahead of the launch of the UPC.