Implementation of the new European patent system, better known as the European Patent Court or UPC (Unified Patent Court) has been delayed again because constitutional complaints against approval were filed with the German Constitutional Court for the second time in January this year. The first time this happened was in 2017. Because this suspended the entire procedure, the approval law was not adopted by the German Bundestag until November 2020, and was approved by the Federal Council in December. Until recently, German ratification was expected to take place during 2022. The two new complaints have dashed those hopes.
The new system is an alternative for the existing validation process of European patents in individual countries. When validating, instead of individual countries, one can then also choose to register as a UP, which makes the patent immediately valid in all participating countries. This represents a major simplification of the entire validation process. Also, only one translation is needed, so no separate translations per country. There will also then be no annual fees for the individual countries. The European Patent Office charges a single annual fee for maintaining the UP in participating countries. In addition to the UPC, the current European patent system will be maintained.
For more information, see the dossier ‘A new European patent system’ on our website.