Earlier this year, the German Constitutional Court ruled that the introduction of a bill on the approval of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) was unconstitutional, because the draft ratification bill had not been adopted with the required two-thirds majority of the German parliament.
On 26 November 2020, the German Bundestag (cf. House of Representatives in the Netherlands and Belgium) passed the bill with the required majority. The next step in the German ratification process is approval by the Bundesrat (cf. Senate). The session of the Bundesrat is scheduled for 18 December 2020.
According to the European Commission, it would now be possible for the UPC and the UP (Unitary Patent, or EU Patent) to become operational in 2022. This would mean that in the course of 2021 the period would begin – the so-called sunrise period – for which existing European patent rights can be used under the opt-out arrangement. As a result, they will continue to be covered by the current system and any court cases will be heard through the national courts.
Read our dossier ‘A new European Patent System’