At the end of 2020, German ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) looked promising as the German parliament (Bundestag) was approved with the required two-thirds majority.
However, two applications before the German Constitutional Court (FCC) for preliminary injunctions against ratification delayed the final steps for the act to be promulgated. This included signature by the Federal government (either by the Chancellor or the federal minister), signature by the Federal President and publication in the Federal Law Gazette.
In an order published on July 9, both applications for preliminary injunction have been rejected by the Second Senate of the FCC. The Court stated that the constitutional complaints lodged in the principal proceedings are inadmissible as the complainants failed to sufficiently assert and substantiate a possible violation of their fundamental rights.
The Federal President does not have to wait for a full decision on the merits of the case and German ratification of the UPCA can proceed.
There is still a way to go before we have a fully functioning Unitary Patent system and a Unified Patent Court. Two more signatory states need to agree to the Protocol of Provisional Application before the Preparatory Committee can finalise all outstanding administration during the Provisional Application Period.
However, with German ratification imminent, it is believed two more signatory states will agree quickly and we may finally see a fully functioning Unitary Patent system shortly.
We will keep you updated on any future developments as and when they happen.