The German upper and lower houses of congress (Bundestag and Bundesrat) adopted the draft ratification bill including the consent to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). After several years waiting including a challenge before the Federal Constitutional Court, ratification is entering its final phase.
For Unitary Patents to become available, the UPCA has to enter into force which requires the ratification by 13 of the 25 participating EU Member States, including France, Germany and Italy. In Germany, Once the German ratification procedure is complete, it's anticipated that the final preparatory steps could be taken to set up the Unitary Patent Court in 2021. The UPC could then start its work in 2022.
The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are part of the Unitary Patent package which will supplement and strengthen the existing centralised European patent granting system. They will offer users a cost-effective option for patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe. Unitary Patents will make it possible to get uniform patent protection in up to 25 EU Member States by submitting a single request to the EPO, making the procedure simpler and more cost effective for applicants.
Not all EU countries are part of the Unitary Patent system. In particular Spain, Croatia and Poland opted out. Also, the UK will not be taking part either now that Brexit has been concluded.
(source: European IP helpdesk)
www.emps.es Esquivel & Martin Santos Intellectual Property