Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) passes first stage for ratification in Germany
On 26 November 2020 the German Bundestag adopted the draft UPCA ratification bill which included consent to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The next step is that the bill will go to the upper house (Bundesrat) of the German parliament for approval, likely to be later this year. For the UPCA to enter into force, 13 of the 25 participating EU Member States, including France, Germany and Italy, are required to ratify it. Once the UPCA enters into force, Unitary Patents may be registered through the European Patent Office (EPO) through a simple process of requesting unitary effect following grant of the European Patent.
A Unitary Patent will provide a single patent right for each of the countries in the group of the EU states that have adopted unitary patent regulation. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will provide a single court in one of those countries, or groups of those countries, in which matters including infringement and validity of the unitary patent may be determined.
Additionally, traditional European patents, that is to say those that have been validated in
countries of interest may also be litigated in a court of the UPC and the decision effective in
other EU states for which the patent has been validated and which have ratified the UPCA.
Countries not part of the UPCA will not be bound by decisions of the UPC and issues
concerning patents in non-UPCA countries will still be determined by the national courts of
According to the EPO, it is anticipated that the final preparatory steps could be taken to set
up the Unitary Patent Court in 2021 and the UPC could then start its work in 2022.