18 February 2016

German Government publishes two draft proposals to start the UPC ratification process

On 16th of February 2016, the German Government published two draft proposals in order to start the UPC ratification process: one act to ratify the UPC agreement, and one act to implement changes to the current German legal framework.

The unitary patent and the UPC will be incorporated into the German legal framework by changes to the German Act regarding International Patent Conventions (Strasbourg Patent Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty and European Patent Convention), as well as the German Patent Act. 

  • Unitary patents and supplementary protection certificates will be treated the same way as a German patent and supplementary protection certificate.

  • Double patenting to date has not been permitted under German law. In view of the UPC, however, this prohibition will be lifted; i.e. there may be a national patent and a unitary patent for the same invention at the same time. Instead, however, German courts may be obliged under certain circumstances to dismiss an action based on a German patent in case the relevant invention is already subject to a pending UPC proceeding.

  • Decisions by the UPC are enforceable in Germany without a German court further certifying the enforceability. However, the relevant official documents must be in German.

  • A central division will be in Munich. Furthermore, there will be regional divisions in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim and Munich.

  • German judges (judges, lawyers as well as technicians) will be delegated to the UPC.

  • In general, the language of the proceedings will be the language of the Member State where the relevant division is based. Furthermore, parties can agree on English, French or German.

These proposals have long been awaited. Details regarding financial aspects are still subject to debate. The draft proposals will now be discussed further, with the German Government wanting to introduce these acts to the German Bundestag this summer. Accordingly, the Bundestag could adopt these acts by the end of 2016.

We will keep you updated on any new developments.

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