The Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court will publish a revised time plan for setting up the UPC and Unitary Patent system ‘in due course’.
The Committee announced this after its 18th meeting, Monday 10 October 2016 in Paris, where it ‘took the opportunity to discuss the road ahead given the uncertainty that has arisen following the referendum in the UK’.
The UP system was supposed to start functioning in early 2017, but the Committee now seems to acknowledge officially this is no longer possible. The UK is one of the obligatory ratifiers of the UPC Agreement, but since the Brexit vote of 23 June 2016 it isn’t clear at all whether the UK Government still wants to join the UP system. And even if it does, arrangements must be made and agreements signed to allow the post-Brexit UK to be part of the system.
Despite the uncertainties, the Preparatory Committee seems adamant to progress with the practicalities concerning the UPC. During its 18th meeting, a number of minor amendments were agreed to the Rules of Procedure, of which a consolidated version will be published shortly. Furthermore, a new coordinator of the IT Working Group was elected and proposals were discussed from the HR & Training Working Group on judicial and staff regulations, ‘now with key input from the International Service for Remunerations and Pensions (ISRP) on regarding pensions and health insurance’. An update on the judicial recruitment will be available next week
According to the Preparatory Committee, eleven members states have ratified the UPC Agreement and another five are in a position to do so by January 2017.
The October meeting was supposed to be the Committee’s last, but a further meeting has now been planned for early December 2016.
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