Today, Germany has ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.
This has been confirmed by a statement of its Federal Ministry of Justice.
Germany’s ratification launches the countdown as set under Article 89 of the UPC Agreement according to which the Agreement will enter into force on 1 June 2023. According to an announcement by the UPC, the ‘Agreement’s entry into force will mark a new era for European innovation with the launch of the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent.’
According to the statement of the German ministry of justice (translated in Google), the ‘court will initially decide patent disputes with immediate effect for 17 states (Germany, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia). Further EU member states can join the unitary patent protection in the future. As part of the preparations, the member states have agreed on a code of civil procedure for the new procedure, in which modern technology is used. The files of the court are managed fully electronically in a case management system; the decisions of the court are also issued in electronic form.’
According to an announcement of the EPO, European patent applicants have already shown strong interest in the new Unitary Patent system. ‘Since the EPO launched its transitional measures on 1 January to encourage an early uptake of the new system, more than 2 200 requests for unitary effect and/or for delay of grant have been filed.
The Unitary Patent system will mark the single most important reform in the history of the European patent system since its creation in 1973.The new system will enable uniform patent protection across all participating EU members states by way of a single patent application filed with the EPO and provide a centralised platform for Europe-wide patent litigation before the Unified Patent Court. The 25 EU member states participating in enhanced cooperation for the Unitary Patent package are estimated to have a combined GDP of more than 14 trillion euros (corresponding to 80% of the entire EU’s GDP) and incorporate a population of nearly 400 million people – more than the US, Canada and Australia combined.’