Germany blocks the European Unitary Patent

Poor news reached the European patent community this month from Karlsruhe: completely unexpected and proverbial at the last moment, the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) laid the European Unitary Patent on ice. The reason for this is a hitherto anonymous constitutional complaint, which the court takes so seriously that it asked Federal President Steinmeier not to carry out the drafting of the law provisionally.

Resistance from Germany comes unexpectedly

The plans for a European Unified Patent Court (UPC) are quite controversial and have been the concern of the European National Parliaments for years. The aim of the joint patent system is to replace the current very costly and inefficient system of patent infringement under national law by a single court. At several European locations, the new European Patent Court would then decide on different patent systems. For example, a court for biosciences in London, a court for mechanical engineering in Munich, and a court of appeals in Luxembourg are planned.

According to the British Brexit referendum, patent experts feared the project’s failure, but no one had expected so far from Germany. Finally, the Federal Council and Bundestag had already approved the German laws for the project. However, without the signature of the Federal President, they can not enter into force. In addition to the approval of a minimum number of national parliaments, the participation of France, Great Britain and Germany is legally required for the project. This was determined by the economic weight of these countries as well as by their large share of patents submitted. While the final decision from London is still pending, France had already passed the laws in 2014, and eleven of the 25 participating Member States have already ratified the laws.

Reasons for constitutional action still unclear

It is only possible to speculate on the reasons for the submitted constitutional suit. What is certain is that the action relates both to the national implementation law and to the Convention itself. Further information remains to be seen. The decision of the BVerfG should not be too long, because the court deals with the action with special urgency. This should be a decision this year.

WORDUP PR has been active in the fields of innovation, copyright and patents for more than 15 years. Prominent customer is currently the US-American manufacturer of patent software Anaqua. WORDUP PR has also advised, among other things, the European Patent Office, the Collection Society VG and the Innovationspreis Diesel Medal for several years.