The key legislation underpinning the Unified Patent Court (“UPC“) and the unitary patent system has been ratified in Germany. The Federal President signed the legislation on 7 August 2021, and it was published in the Federal Law Gazette on 12 August 2021.
The next step is for Germany’s ratification of the UPC Protocol on Provisional Application (the “PPA“) to be deposited with the Council of the European Union, and for two other UPC Agreement signatory states to ratify it. It is likely that this will happen during the Autumn of this year. The PPA provides for a provisional application period in which various preparations will be made so that the UPC can become fully operational, including the employment of judges, the making ready of administration of the court and the finalising the UPC Rules of Procedure.
The German instrument of ratification of the UPC Agreement (“UPCA“), will be deposited by Germany at a later date, once the UPC is almost ready to start operating, as this will trigger the ‘UPC countdown’, with the UPC opening its doors approximately 4 months later.
Alexander Ramsay, head of the UPC Preparatory Committee, has recently been quoted as saying that “If everything runs smoothly, we can expect a functioning UPC late in 2022, or possibly early 2023“.
For more on the UPC and unitary patent, see our dedicated UPC & UP hub.