The Bundestag has adopted the UPC Agreement 2017. This law was declared null and void by a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court because the law had not been passed by a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

The Bundestag approved on Thursday, November 26, 2020, the Federal Government's draft law on the agreement of February 19, 2013 on a Unified Patent Court - UPC. In a roll-call vote, 570 members of Parliament voted in favor of the draft law, 72 voted against and there were three abstentions. A two-thirds majority of 473 votes was required. According to the draft, the Convention is the keystone of the reform of the European patent system. As well as a positive conclusion of the procedure in Germany, a further two Signatory States need to agree to be bound by the Protocol on Provisional Application for the project to move into its final phase.

For Unitary Patents to become available, the UPCA must enter into force which requires the ratification by 13 of the 25 participating EU Member States, including France, Germany and Italy. In Germany, the UPC bill will now be submitted to the German Upper House (Bundesrat) for approval later this year. Once the German ratification procedure is complete, it is anticipated that the final preparatory steps could be taken to set up the Unitary Patent Court in 2021. The UPC could then start its work in 2022.

A Unitary Patent may be requested for any European patent granted on or after the date of entry into force of the UPC Agreement.

As of 24th December 2020, Germany is the last country to ratify the UPC before the new court can start and the German Constitutional Court has received a number of complaints against the German UPC legislation. 

FICPI’s view and involvement 

The FICPI community of independent IP attorneys is driven by a strong shared interest of like-minded people. FICPI makes the world a little bit smaller by bringing independent IP attorneys from around the world together to connect, share knowledge and grow, through articles, blogs, webinars, committees, the LinkedIn group and other forums. 

Next steps 

Consider becoming involved with FICPI's Study & Work Group committees on European Patents (CET 4) or International Patents (CET 3).


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