The UK Government has called a General Election which is due to take place on 8 June 2017. This may have the effect of delaying the commencement of the Unified Patent Court.
The UK Parliament has passed the legislation required for it to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement. However, there is additional secondary legislation required to implement the UK part of the central division of the Court and the UK based division of the Court. Without these, the Court cannot function. There will not be time for this secondary legislation to be passed before the General Election. The secondary legislation requires a debate and a vote in the UK Parliament and in the Scottish Parliament.
If the secondary legislation can be passed in the first session of the new Parliament after the General Election, then the Unified Patent Court should still be able to open for business on 1 December 2017. However, if this turns out not to be possible then the secondary legislation may not be passed until the Autumn in which case we can expect commencement of the Unified Patent Court to be put back by two to three months.
It is of course worth noting that if the Conservative party is successful in the General Election, it is likely that it will have in its manifesto a commitment for UK courts not to be bound by decisions of the European Court of Justice. There may, therefore, still be a little doubt as to whether or not the Unified Patent Court will, in fact, ever happen.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.