An action according to Article 32(1) of the UPC Agreement is introduced when the plaintiff lodges a corresponding Statement or Application at the UPC Registry (Rule 4 RoP). Then, Chapter 2 of Part 5 of the Rules of Procedure (RoP) provides for a number of provisions related to the service by the Registry of all documents related to this action (Rule 6 RoP). This Chapter 2 (Rules 270-279 RoP) is subdivided in four sections.
The German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has delayed the ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (http://www.lto.de/recht/nachrichten/n/bverfg-stoppt-eu-einheits-patent-verfassungsbeschwerde/) as became known today.
The Constitutional Court has asked the Federal President of Germany to put the process of ratification on hold following a constitutional complaint filed by a private person. The Office of the Federal President informed the court that the process was “suspended” following the request. The constitutional complaint relates to the law ruling the Unified Patent Court, but as the two are closely related, the entry into force of the Unitary Patent has also been put on hold.
At this point, Germany and the UK have not yet ratified the UPC Agreement, which requires 13 signatories including those two countries plus France before the UPC can be launched.
Now, concerns have been raised that Germany will not be able to ratify the protocol on the provisional application for quite some time.
Those events will probably have a significant impact on the entry into operation of the entire UPC package.
The Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“UPCA”) will have a significant impact on agreements on Patents, especially on co-ownership and licensing agreements.
The Parties to a co-ownership or licensing agreement shall take into account the provisions applicable to European patents with unitary effect (namely Unitary Patents or “UP”) and those applicable to the Unified Patent Court (“UPC”).
As we have seen, the UK Prime Minister has surprisingly called earlier last week for General Election to take place on 8 June 2017. Authorized by Parliament on 19 April 2017, this Election is likely to freeze the Parliamentary business very soon.
In practice, the UPC Agreement setting up the UPC is to enter into force the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the thirteenth instrument of ratification or accession, including France, Germany and the UK.
As a further unforeseen development of the setting up of the UPC, the United Kingdom voted “Brexit”. This Brexit has become more tangible as the UK has notified withdrawal from the EU under article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union on March 29, 2017.
Despite the great uncertainties created by Brexit, rumors say that the UK is willing to ratify the UPC Agreement in spring 2017. Besides, Germany is apparently prepared to do so in summer 2017. This would trigger start of the UPC at the end of year 2017 or the beginning of year 2018.
Before start of the UPC, these ratifications would trigger immediate entry into force of the Protocol to the UPC Agreement signed by the Contracting Member States on October 1st, 2015.
The UPC has to be fully operable at the date the UPC Agreement enters into force.