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German Ratification of UPC Agreement Complete

Germany has today deposited its instrument of ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court with the Council of the European Union. This represents the final step required for the UPC Agreement to come into effect, initiating the most significant changes in European patent law for several decades.

In line with the most recent timetable suggested by the UPC (see here), the UPC Agreement will formally enter into force on 1 June 2023, the first day of the fourth month after Germany's ratification. It will be possible from this date to bring an action at the UPC. It will also become possible to obtain a European patent with unitary effect (a “Unitary Patent”).

The formal ratification of the agreement by Germany today also means that the sunrise period will start, as expected, on 1 March 2023. The sunrise period will run from that date until the day before the opening of the UPC and will provide holders of European patents with an opportunity to opt out of the jurisdiction of the UPC before the court starts functioning.

This step by Germany today of depositing its instrument of ratification brings to an end a decades-long process of establishing a single patent court covering a number of participating countries in Europe. The UPC represents both opportunities and risks for patent holders and for third parties. As we begin to engage, we will be following with interest how proceedings before this new court unfold.

Further information on the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court is available here.