Prior to the Unitary Patent Package Conference we’ve interviewed Kevin Mooney, Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Rules of Procedure for the Unified Patent Court and Partner at Simmons & Simmons LLP. What are the last steps to be taken for the start of the UP and the UPC in 2016? And when do you expect the UP and UPC will start and when will the sunrise period begin for the opt-outs?
What are (in your opinion) the last steps to be taken for the start of the UP and the UPC in 2016?
On October 1st the Member States will sign a Protocol on Transitional Application. This will allow the Preparatory Committee to take all the practical steps necessary for the UPC Agreement to come into operation in an efficient manner.This transitional period will probably last until July 2016.This will include the hiring and training of essential staff and the location of premises.
The actual start date for the UPC and UP will depend on the progress made during the transitional period.The most optimistic date remains 1st October 2016.
What is the status of the Rules of Procedure and when do you expect the final version? (18th Draft and your expectations)
18th draft of the Rules of Procedure will be adopted by the Preparatory Committee on 19th October. Thereafter there will be minor amendments only, for example to incorporate the results of the Court fees consultation.
When will the final consultation of the renewal fees and court fees take place and what do you expect the outcome will be?
Results of the consultation on Court fees are currently being analysed. There will be further negotiations among the Member States until December when a final proposal will be put to the Preparatory Committee for agreement in February 2016.
What is the status of appointment of the UPC Judges and how will they be trained?
The appointment of judges has been delayed.It is now expected that an advertisement will be issued in December to be followed by appointments in the New Year.
Will there be a Sunrise register for the opt in or opt-out and when will that start?
There will be a sunrise period for opt-outs but the process will now be organized by the Preparatory Committee during the transitional period and using the Court’s IT system. It is not clear when the Sunrise register will start, certainly not in October, but probably Spring/Summer 2016.
What are the consequences for the UP and UPC for the UK if they might leave the EU in 2017 (Referendum to be held in 2017)?
If the UK referendum result is to leave the EU the UK will cease to be a member of the UPC project.