Germany Delaying Unitary Patent

July 7, 2017

Contrary to the expectations of many, it suddenly seems like Germany is the final country delaying the ratification process of the Unitary Patent. A German court is to decide whether the law system behind the Unitary Patent is constitutional.

For a while now Great Britain has been considered the final major hurdle in completing the implementation of the Unitary Patent. With the Brexit, the fate of the ratification by Great Britain became uncertain. Prime minister Theresa May initially stated her intention to ratify in November, but this intention seemed to be pushed to the background by the disappointing results of May in the recent elections in Great Britain.

On June 26th however, May announced that she has taken the final step in the process of Great Britain’s ratification. Despite the Brexit, May seems to want stick with the UPC. According to experts this could mean that the ratification of the UK may be completed before the summer recess of the government.

The UK and Germany, being two of the three countries with the most patent filings, are the last countries that need to ratify for the Unitary Patent to take effect. With the reassurance from the UK, Germany suddenly becomes the last, and unexpected, hurdle on the road towards the UPC.

In Germany, an unknown private individual has stepped to court claiming that the Unitary Patent and its UPC are in violation of the German constitution. Details of the complaint are unknown, but Germany’s Constitutional Court has ordered the government to hold off on the ratification pending the courts decision on the matter.

The court case has caught many off guards and without details of the complaint, its outcome remains uncertain too. With the case pending before court at the moment, the only certainty seems to be an other delay of at least a few months.