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Further Delay to German UPCA Ratification

13 January 2021

Following the passing in Germany of the Bill for Re-ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) in December 2020, two constitutional complaints against German ratification were filed at the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC).

The FCC has now confirmed to journalists that the FCC has asked the Federal President not to sign the bill into law. Signing of the bill is the last step necessary before UPCA and Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) ratifications can be deposited by Germany.

It is unclear at present whether the delay will be short (for example if the FCC declines to admit the complaints for detailed consideration), or will last for several years in the case that the FCC decides that at least one of the complaints is admissible. The first constitutional complaint against German ratification of the UPCA was filed in 2017 and decided only in 2020.

German ratification is necessary for the PPA to start. This is required in order to implement the UPCA and enable the creation of the Unitary Patent (UP) and the establishment of the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UP is intended to be a patent with unitary effect throughout the contracting EU member states. The UPC, if it comes into existence, will be a Court for hearing disputes relating either to the UP or to European patents having effect in the EU member states. 

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