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.
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.
While the constitutional complaint against the Unified Patent Court (“UPC”) filed in April 2017 with the German Federal Constitutional Court (“FCC”) was put on the case list to be heard in 2018 and in 2019, the FCC has announced that the decision will be released on 20 March 2020.
According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Lithuania has completed its ratification formalities on 24 August 2017. This is the 14th ratification following that of Estonia which joined the unitary patent system on 1 August 2017.
To be complete, the unitary patent system requires 13 ratifications, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. France is already part of the system since 14 March 2014. However, according to the Preparatory Committee, the United Kingdom and Germany still have some hurdles to overcome before the unitary patent system enters into force (you can see our previous posts on the situation in the UK and Germany)
Still, the Preparatory Committee is confident that the UPC will come into force around January 2018.