Tag Archives: UPC

Opt-out of SPCs

Operation of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is currently expected for 1st April 2023 (https://www.unified-patent-court.org/news/latest-state-play-view-launch-unified-patent-court), thus launching the sunrise period as soon as 1st January 2023.

During this sunrise period, it will be possible to opt-out European (EP) titles from the competence of the UPC. Opt-out will be possible for published EP patent applications, granted EP patents (without unitary effect) and Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) issued for a product protected by a EP patent (A.83 UPCA).

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UPC and the Bolar exemption

The so-called ‘Bolar exemption’ finds legal basis in EU Directive 2004/27/EC modifying Directive 2001/83/EC on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use. Article 10(6) of EU Directive 2001/83/EC states that:

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New Ratification of The UPCA by The Bundestag – What Is Next ?

The German National Assembly (Bundestag) has now adopted the law for ratifying the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) with the required majority. As a next step, the Bundesrat, the second chamber, has to approve the law. As the Bundesrat did not have any objections previously, it is likely that the law will pass with the required majority. The next session of the Bundesrat is planned for 18 December 2020, however the schedule of the session is not yet fixed. After the vote of the Bundesrat, the government and the president have formally to sign the law.

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Political will in Germany for the UPC Agreement to be submitted to a new vote as soon as possible

While the Federal Constitutional Court of 20 March 2020 ruled in Germany that the act of consent to the UPC Agreement is not constitutional and therefore void, a press release of 26 March 2020 from the German Federal Minister of Justice clarified the current political will in Germany.

In a clear statement, the Federal government confirmed that it keeps on upholding the project of a single European patent system with a European patent Court.

The Federal Government is committed in examining the possibilities to remedy the lack of form of the act of consent to the UPC Agreement, as found by the Federal Constitutional Court.

According to the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, a constitutional majority in the Bundestag would have been required for the vote of act of consent to the UPC Agreement, since it implies a transfer of rights to an international institution and thus leads to a change in constitution.

The Federal Minister of Justice suggested that this should be made during the current legislative period that is due to end in 2021, if possible.

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German Federal Constitutional Court upholds the constitutional complaint regarding the UPC for lack of qualified majority vote: is there still a chance for the UPC?

In its order released on 20 March 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) holds the act of approval to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“UPC”) void due in particular to the lack of a qualified majority vote. While this decision delays the ratification of the UPC Agreement by Germany even further, the future of the UPC seems more than ever uncertain. However, in upholding the constitutional complaint on this ground, a future ratification of the UPC Agreement by Germany still remains possible.

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