Germany has today on April 27, 2017, taken the second but last step to implementing the Unified Patent Court (UPC) , which will not only be the first nearly pan-European court in patent matters but also a further step of deeper European integration in interesting times. The Bundestag has approved the final vote on the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court. The protocol gives the necessary protection to the future Court and its Judges and employees. Previously, some tax questions were still in discussion. Formalities such as approval by the Bundesrat, signature by the Bundespräsident and publication in the Bundesanzeiger are sure to follow. Now only the actual act of ratification remains as a last material step. It is understood that Germany will ratify after the U.K. to give the starting signal for the UPC.
Our partner Christopher Weber comments: The fact that this normally quite arcane piece of legislation is newsworthy speaks in itself volumes about the implementation process, which has now again been prolonged by the surprising decision of the U.K. government to have a snap general election. As was widely discussed and also reported on our website there is a need for the U.K. and Germany to ratify the UPC, additionally to France and 10 further EU member states. There seems to be broad political support in the current U.K. government to follow through on their earlier statement to go ahead with the ratification. Polls suggest that the next U.K. government will be similarly minded. We therefore expect that the start of the UPC should only be delayed by a few months into early 2018.