As announced by the European Patent Office, Austria has completed its ratification process for the Protocol on Provisional Application of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. Once Austria deposits its instrument of ratification, the provisional application period will start, allowing the important final steps required to create a fully-functioning court to be completed, including the recruitment and training of the technical and legal judges, and the completion of the case management IT system.
It is therefore looking likely that the UPC itself will be able to start accepting new cases around the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. The deposit in due course by Germany of its instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement will first trigger the start of a 3 to 4 month "sunrise period", during which holders of European patents will be able to register opt-outs from the new UPC system, should they wish.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.