According to a new announcement on the Unified Patent Court's website, the Preparatory Committee is now working on an assumption that the court will become fully operational in December 2017.
Prior to this date there will be a "sunrise period" where various aspects of the new system are brought online before the Court officially opens. A particularly important aspect of the UPC system is that European Patents can be "opted out" of the UPC's jurisdiction. Opt-outs need to be registered with the Court, and the Court will begin accepting opt-out registrations during the sunrise period. The Committee anticipates that it should be possible to register opt-outs from September 2017 onwards.
Although the timetable is not yet final, now is a good time for patent owners to start thinking carefully about whether to opt in or out of the UPC, as well as considering whether to delay the grant of any pending applications so that these can be converted into Unitary Patents once the court becomes operational.
For more advice on opt-outs, unitary patents, or any other aspects of this new system, please contact Dehns for advice.