It is clear to the Committee that the ambitious target date of early 2015, decided at its first meeting, cannot be accomplished. The Committee stays completely focused on its task but at the same time cannot let self-imposed deadlines stand in the way of quality. At its fifth meeting it was agreed that the UPC will not be operational until the end of 2015 at the earliest. A new revised roadmap will be published at the website shortly.
|When will the sands run until?|
It has always been the case with the UPC and UP that the official pronouncements have suggested timescales far more rapid than any informed observer thought practical. At the time that the Unitary Patent Regulation was voted in Parliament in December 2012 (see here and note the "soon") and the Unified Patent Court Agreement was signed in February 2013, officials talked as though the real start date might be somewhere close to the earliest possible start date according to the Regulation and the Agreement of 1 January 2014 (Se eg Article 89(1) of the Agreement).
The original Road Map of the Preparatory Committee announced (in a document from June 2013), albeit as "ambitious", that "At its first meeting the Preparatory Committee decided that early 2015 would be a realistic target date for the entry into operation of the UPC."
Until now the official pronouncements have remained unchanged, while observers have suggested, to take a selection, "2015 at the earliest" (Dehns, August 2013), "in 2016 or even 2017 is seen as being realistic" (Kilburn & Strode, February 2014), "2014 ... was always unrealistic, and a new target date has been set for early 2015. That too is unrealistic, but later 2015 or 2016 is certainly possible" (Bristows, December 2013), and "maybe start not before 2018" (Tweet from KSNH Patentanwalte, November 2013, via IPCopy).
If the official estimates of timescales begin to converge with the estimates of informed observers, that will aid the credibility of all concerned. We can probably all now begin to agree that talking about 2016 as the start date is probably the most sensible. For the time being.
Merpel points out that, as to costs, we are still none the wiser.