Unified Patent Court

German government announces intention to move forward with UPC

Despite the Federal Constitutional Court's decision invalidating the German UPC legislation, the government is sticking to the UPC. The Bundestag is to vote again during this legislative period. Germany will elect a new parliament in October 2021.

26 March 2020 by Mathieu Klos

German patent law The Federal Ministry of Justice intends to present the UPC laws to the Bundestag again until October 2021 ©Tobias Arhelger/ADOBE STOCK

The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection is sticking to the European patent reform, including the Unified Patent Court. Federal justice minister Christine Lambrecht made the announcement today.

Christine Lambrecht

Christine Lambrecht ©BMJV/Thomas Koehler

Lambrecht says, “I will continue my efforts to ensure that we can provide European innovative industry with a unitary European patent with a European Patent Court. The Federal Government will carefully evaluate the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court and examine possibilities to remedy the identified lack of form before the end of this legislative period.”

Last Friday, the German Constitutional Court declared the laws approving the UPC as invalid. This is because the German Bundestag should have approved it by a two-thirds majority, instead of the simple majority which originally passed the laws. According to the court, the creation of the UPC was tantamount to a constitutional amendment. This is because sovereign rights were irrevocably ceded by the federal government.

The decision further halts German ratification of the UPC Agreement. The Bundestag and the Bundesrat originally approved the laws in 2017. However, the UPC project as a whole is also now on ice, because German ratification is mandatory.