18 December 2020
The German Upper Chamber (the Bundesrat) has now approved the UPC (Unified Patent Court) agreement. The final step for the UPC to be brought into German law is the signature by German’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier which we expect shortly (baring any further constitutional objections).
As we reported in November, German Parliament’s Lower Chamber (the Bundestag) has given the required two-thirds majority needed for constitutional changes. The German Parliament’s upper chamber (the Bundesrat) has now approved the UPC legislation meaning the signature of German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is the next step needed for bringing the UPC agreement into German Law.
The UPC will allow companies and inventors to protect their inventions in at least 16 EU countries in a single court action should the system be implemented. The court coming into operation would complete the so called “Unitary Patent Package” which would also allow for a single Unitary EU Patent that would simplify the patent granting process for much of Europe.
Before the UPC becomes fully operational it will first enter into a “provisional application phase” which will last for some months. Two more EU states need to agree to the Protocol on that provisional application phase before it can commence. We look forward to an update from the UPC’s preparatory committee regarding the likely timeline for these events to occur. Presently its seems like the first Unitary Patents may be granted by early in 2022 once the UPC is fully up and running.