After confirmation last November by UK IP minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, that the UK intends to press ahead with ratification of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court, things are looking a lot brighter for Europe's planned unitary patent.
The UPC’s Preparatory Committee has now issued a provisional timetable with a target of the court starting work this year.
The proposed dates are:
- May 2017 - start of the Provisional Application Phase (PAP), intended to allow for early registration of opt-out demands
- September 2017 - start of the sunrise period for opting European patents out of the system
- December 2017 - the court becomes operational
The Preparatory Committee points out that this remains subject to national ratifications going ahead.