Another major step towards the UPC system becoming a reality was made on 17 November 2015, when the EPO Select Committee adopted the distribution key, i.e. the apportionment of the 50% share of the Unitary patent renewal fees amongst the participating EU Member States (the EPO retaining the other 50%). It has been agreed that for an initial period of operation the 50% of the fees (minus an administrative charge) will be distributed according to a formula that takes account of the GDP and the number of applications filed from each participating Member State.
Reaching agreement on this potentially politically difficult issue is an important milestone, and builds on the previous achievement of agreeing the level of the renewal fees (True Top 4) in June 2015.
This means the preparatory work of the Select Committee for introduction of Unitary patent protection is almost complete, and in its December meeting it will aim to make a formal final decision on the financial package (including other issues such as allocation of administrative costs) and formally approve the draft rules relating to Unitary patent protection.