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News 2 Dec 2020

UPC ratification approved by German Bundestag

The German Bundestag adopted on 26 November 2020 the draft ratification bill including the consent to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (the UPC Agreement).

This is the second time the German Bundestag voted in favor of the Agreement. The first time, a private person filed a constitutional complaint, which was upheld by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, because a 2/3 majority of Parliamentarians would be required for such an agreement, in which certain rights are given up by the autonomous country.

Since by now there are several organizations that question the compatibility of the UPC Agreement with the German constitution and other international treaties, it can be expected that another constitutional complaint will be filed soon. For example, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has already sent an open letter to the German Bundesrat to note that the UPC Agreement includes such violations and that they consider filing a constitutional complaint.

It thus remains uncertain as to whether and how the UPC Agreement might come into effect. Nevertheless, this approval by the Bundestag shows clearly that the political will required for the new system is still well and truly arrive.

The UPC is envisioned as a pan-EU patent court, which would also provide for unitary patents to be valid across all the participating member states. The UPC Agreement was signed in 2013, and since then many EU member states have already ratified it. Earlier this year, the UK withdrew its ratification because it had left the EU. However, the UPC Agreement cannot come into effect before Germany has ratified it, and therefore a new constitutional complaint would delay the matter further.