On December 21, 2017, the UPC Preparatory Committee issued a press release „Summary and Future“ explaining the „provisional application“ phase and its operation. This is essentially a pilot phase that can occur if a sufficient number of signatory states approve the protocol on the agreement on a unified jurisdiction on the provisional application. The protocol requires States Parties to agree to provisionally apply the institutional, organizational and financial aspects of the UPCA before the UPCA comes into force. As soon as the protocol comes into force, the organization is formed (as such) and becomes endowed with the legal personality. The management committee, the budget committee and the advisory committee are set up at the beginning of the interim implementation and then take responsibility for the preparation by the preparatory committee. First of all, unitary patents cannot cover all participating Member States, some of which may not have yet ratified the UPC Convention when it comes into force. The outstanding ratifications are likely to be successive, so that there may be different generations of unitary patents with different territorial coverages. Coverage of a given generation of unitary patents remains the same throughout its lifespan, regardless of any subsequent ratifications of the UPC convention after the registration date of the unit effect. In other words, there will be no extension of the territorial coverage of unitary patents to other Member States that ratify the UPC Convention after CEPOL registers the unitary effect. The United Kingdom, along with France and Germany, is one of three signatory countries to ratify before the agreement can enter into force.
France ratified a long time ago (2014), so German ratification is all that is needed now. Germany`s ratification was hampered by a challenge to the law, which allowed Germany to ratify both the Bundestag and the Federal Constitutional Court. Both have not yet been resolved. The UPC will begin operations as soon as the UPC agreement comes into force. The agreement, signed in 2013, aims to create a unified court for the settlement of Disputes relating to European patents and European unitary patents. The Unified Patent Tribunal will be a joint tribunal of the 25 Member States that signed the agreement. Fifteen other countries have already ratified the UPC agreement. Once ratified by Germany, the agreement will enter into force on the first day of the fourth month following the need for ratification. Assuming that constitutional challenges fail, it is likely that German ratification will take place in such a way that the new Unitary Patent Tribunal will agree on the first one.
Once the SS is in force, the UPC tribunal will carry out its functions in all the current EU Member States, with the exception of Croatia, Poland and Spain which have not signed the agreement. Once the UPC is in place, a European unitary patent (also known as a unitary patent) will be available and will cover all participating states. Unitary patents will be applied by the UPC, which will also be responsible for European patents that have not been excluded from the new system.